LIBERIA: Naymote Expresses Concern About Allegation Of Conflict Of Interest, Corruption At The Legislature

Capitol Building, Seat of the Liberian Lawmakers

Naymote Partners for Democratic Development says it is deeply concerned about an allegation of conflict of interest and corruption emanating from the Liberian Legislature. Few days ago, Senator Abraham Darius Dillon raised concerns about construction companies who have been contracted to construct roads being owned and operated by some sitting lawmakers including the Rep. Edward W. Karfiah, Chair, Public Account and Expenditure Committee; Rep. Thomas P. Fallah, Chair, Ways, Means, Finance and Development Planning Committee and Sen. Saah H. Joseph, Chair, Executive; Member, Ways Means, Finance & Budget; Health, etc.

According to the Montserrado County Senator Dillon, because of lawmakers’ involvement with these construction companies, many of them are reneging on their responsibilities with nothing being done to hold them accountable after allocating and collecting funds from the Government of Liberia to construct these roads.

Naymote believes these are serious allegations and is calling on the President Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives to launch an investigation of the allegations immediately as it is about accountability, integrity of the legislature, and also undermine the national development agenda of the country.

The institution is also calling for investigation by the President of Liberia, George M. Weah of the leadership of the Ministry of Public Works (MPW), and the Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC) of the Republic of Liberia to understand how these contracts were awarded, what due diligence took place, and why no action is being taken on these construction companies who are neglecting to carry on, and or complete projects they collected funds for. While citizens are finding it difficult to travel especially to the southeast region, some members of the legislature are allocating funds in the national budget for road construction they collect and later neglect the project. If these allegations are true, then US Ambassador, Michael McCarthy was right when he said citizens in rural Liberia “are treated with a neglect that borders on contempt.”  Is this the best that Liberia can do?

Elected officials who should be working for the people, representing, making laws and providing oversight are the same people undermining the development agenda of the country, involved in conflict of interest, corruption through budgetary allocation and neglect.

When road constructions, especially the Southeast region, is a challenge, and companies owned by some lawmakers are involved with stalling the progress of these construction projects, they are undermining national development. These same lawmakers are contesting for public office when they are allegedly involved in corruption and mismanagement of public funds, they have compromised their powers to exercise oversight for public goods to ensure accountability and value for money of the executive due to conflict of interest and corruption. This is against the principles of good democratic governance which speak about transparency and political accountability in any democratic environment.

The issue of roads in Liberia, especially during the rainy season is a major challenge for millions of Liberians across the country and it requires a very robust legislature to ensure its oversight function to have both the Executive and contractors deliver on their obligations. Having companies owned and operated by lawmaker (s) winning government contract (s) is a complete conflict of interest and a violation of our laws. Any lawmaker or group of lawmakers whose hands are caught into such an act should be dealt with in line with the laws of Liberia.

Naymote also wants to use this medium to caution the PPCC to do due diligence before awarding contracts to any companies. It is an act of corruption for people/companies to be awarded contracts squarely based on their proximity to prominent individuals in either the executive, legislature, or even at the judiciary. The awarding of contracts has to be done with great due fairness and transparency taking into account a company’s capacity and history on effectively delivering.

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