LIBERIA – The Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia says inaction by President George M. Weah makes it wonder as to which side he really stands in fighting corruption in the country saying whether with the majority of the Liberian People and ordinary citizens or some of his officials who have proven to be an embarrassment to the country, government, and the overall growth and development of the country,
Mr. Anderson D. Miamen, CENTAL executive director addressing a press conference on Friday, June 24, 2022, at the institution in Monrovia, said where does the President truly stand on corruption, after much talks and rhetoric about being committed to the fight?
Adding CENTAL that is deeply disappointed in the Presidency’s attitude towards the fight against corruption in Liberia as his inaction is inconsistent with a continuous verbal commitment to deal with the vice in the country, Miamen said.
“It has been more words from the President than concrete actions to support public integrity institutions morally, financially, and logistically to play their respective roles. Also, it has been worded in terms of the presidency having concrete and genuine discussions with integrity institutions to identify and make genuine attempts at addressing their logistical, staffing, and other needs to give his government the necessary reputation to engage with partners and mobilize resources from traditional and non-traditional sources to fund key interventions in the country,” CENTAL boss stressed.
He lamented that the state and quality of governance in Liberia continue to decline due to the failure of the most critical players to engender necessary reforms that will make Liberia a transformed, developed, more livable, and prosperous society for all.
Accordingly, he pointed out that the Liberian Presidency appears indifferent, from all indications, to fostering a genuine and committed fight against corruption—one that gives public integrity institutions the required leverage and pushes to operate at full capacity, decisively identify and deal with corruption and other related cases, help the President and the government of Liberia and Liberians to succeed at winning the war against corruption, as well as engendering a culture of integrity and zero tolerance for corruption.
“Scandals continue to be reported in government involving key and strategically placed public officials. Sadly, the actions needed to prevent and arrest the situation and bring the perpetrators to book have not been full and complete, especially from the end of the Presidency.”
Miamen continued: “On 22 June 2022, President Weah appeared on a local radio station and intimated to the Liberian public that adhering to the democratic process and human rights norms mean that provisional administrative sanctions cannot be taken against officials investigated by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) and forwarded to the Ministry of Justice for prosecution. The investigations involved corruption scandals at the Liberia Institute for Statistics and Geo-Information Services, Ministry of Agriculture, and Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation, among others.”
“We remind the President of actions taken to suspend Ma-Tenneh L. Keita, Coordinator of Presidential Special Projects at the Ministry of States for Presidential Affairs, and Duannah Siryon, Tugbe C. Tugbe, and Isaac Roberts of the National Housing Authority (NHA), while they were undergoing investigation respectively. These were not a violation of their rights, but a demonstration of will in ensuring that corruption-related investigations and prosecutions receive the attention they deserve.”
Miamen further indicated that rather than having public officials face such processes and at the same time be required to perform their official duties, allowing them their ‘day in court is important if the ends of justice must be met, noting, “Thus, were the President to insist on taking no actions on those investigated until the outcome of a court trial, such would be a huge blow to anti-corruption efforts.
CENTAL boss in his concluding statement, call on President Weah to suspend all officials implicated in recent investigative reports released by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission, adding that the President cannot continue to love his officials more than the vast majority of the Liberian People, as his stance against corruption has been extremely weak and disappointing.
“Also, we call on the President to provide the necessary moral, financial, and logistical support to public integrity institutions to enable them to operate at full capacity, as they have critical roles in giving his government and Liberia the necessary reputation and standing to, among other things mobilize resources from traditional and non-traditional partners to address critical development needs of the country.”
“Finally, we call on the media, civil society, and ordinary citizens to remain vocal and unrelenting in highlighting societal ills and demanding accountability of their leaders, while also denouncing corruption themselves. The new Liberia we collectively seek will not arrive in the midst of rampant corruption and other forms of bad governance.”
At the same time, CENTAL thanks the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), Liberia Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative (LEITI), and other public integrity institutions that are working under difficult conditions, including but not limited to extremely limited budget and logistics from national government.
Mr. Miamen also indicated that CENTAL welcomes LACC’s latest investigative reports covering different corruption scandals and incidences, largely involving high-ranking officials of the Weah-led Government.
“We are equally grateful to development partners who continue to stand by Liberia and Liberians by providing financial and nonfinancial resources to support key programs and interventions, generally geared at improving the quality of lives of the people,” Miamen concluded.