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Thursday, June 20, 2024

LIBERIA: CENTAL CLEARS DOUBTS SURROUNDING CLLR. KARNGA’S NOMINATION FOR OMBUDSMAN POSITION

Date:

MONROVIA, LIBERIA – President Joseph Nyuma Boakai’s recent nomination for the office of Ombudsman has faced scrutiny, with some questioning the loyalty of the newly nominated Chairperson, Cllr. Findley Karnga, to the President’s Unity Party Alliance, which propelled President Boakai to power.

The allegation of Cllr. Karnga’s loyalty to the presidency prompted the Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL) to conduct an inquiry.

In a press conference held on Thursday, April 11, 2024, CENTAL’s Executive Director, Anderson Miamen, addressed the issue, stating that while his institution couldn’t independently verify the allegations, such accusations against a prospective ombudsperson are concerning.

CENTAL urged President Boakai to consider competitive recruitment processes for critical roles in the future, emphasizing that transparent recruitment minimizes the likelihood of appointing individuals with questionable independence, competence, and credibility.

Mr. Miamen emphasized the importance of open and competitive vetting processes, involving civil society, government, and relevant stakeholders, to instill public confidence in appointed officials.

Cllr. Findley Karngar was nominated by President Boakai on Friday, April 5, 2024, in accordance with Part XII of the Code of Conduct, which establishes the Office of Ombudsman as an independent body responsible for enforcing adherence to the Code of Conduct.

CENTAL previously urged President Boakai to appoint the ombudsperson to ensure compliance with the Code of Conduct, highlighting past administrations’ failures to make the Office of Ombudsman functional despite widespread violations of the Code.

While commending President Boakai’s efforts to operationalize the Ombudsman’s office, CENTAL recommended:

  1. i) That the Executive and Legislative branches of government work to ensure that, building upon the Code of Conduct, a legislation is passed clearly carving out the structure of the Office of the Ombudsman, qualifications and recruitment procedures, as well as providing for tenure, financial autonomy, and gender representation. We must note that the Code of Conduct is scanty in respect of the composition of the Ombudsman and other key elements described above. CENTAL believes that appointments under the current law can only suffice as a stop gap measure until the Office of the Ombudsman is properly established, with all necessary insulation to truly equate it as an independent integrity institution.
  2. ii) That the Office of the Ombudsman is adequately supported through the national budget, as there exists no such support in the draft 2024 national budget before the Legislature for review and passage into law. And

iii) That Cllr. Findely and his would-be team and co-workers lead by example in terms of fully complying with the Code of Conduct for Public Officials and other relevant laws and policies. Also, we admonish them to be independent, fair, efficient, and effective in carrying out their functions, as they serve in this very important capacity.

In conclusion, CENTAL reaffirmed its commitment to collaborating with stakeholders to combat corruption and promote integrity and accountability across all sectors. Additionally, it encouraged Liberians to hold their leaders to high standards and performance, demanding adherence to laws and commitments made to citizens.

“Let’s maintain high standards and demand accountability from our leaders,” CENTAL Executive Director concluded.

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Smart News Liberia is an online news outlet and a product of Smart Media Group Inc. Our website, smartnewsliberia.com, covers a broad spectrum of news content. For inquiries or information, you can reach us at 0777425285 or 0886946925, or email us at smartnewsliberia@gmail.com or info@smartnewsliberia.com.

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