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Friday, June 14, 2024

‘STAND ON THE SIDE OF THE LIBERIAN PEOPLE’: CENTAL TELLS PRES. WEAH AMID ALLEGATIONS OF CORRUPTION AT LISGIS

Date:

MONROVIA, LIBERIA – The Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL) has expressed deep concern over recent allegations of corruption involving public officials at the Liberia Institute for Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS). These accusations not only suggest misuse of taxpayers’ money but also highlight a blatant disregard for internal controls, procurement laws, and public financial management guidelines.

Recent reports by Frontpage Africa and discussions on Spoon 107.5 FM have shed light on these allegations. Out of the $1.8 million allocated to LISGIS for the national housing and population census, only $700,000 was transferred to the Census account managed by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The Census Coordinator at LISGIS, Mr. Alex G. Williams, confirmed these irregularities and implicated the management of LISGIS in the scandal. He further stated that this corruption has hindered Liberia’s contribution to the census cost, delaying the census itself.

The alleged mismanagement not only erodes public trust but also undermines Liberia’s democratic institutions. For instance, LISGIS Director-General, Prof. Francis Wreh, initially claimed that $1 million was transferred to the Census account, later revising the figure to $700,000, with $300,000 retained by LISGIS for “census operation”. Such discrepancies raise serious questions about the integrity of LISGIS’s financial practices.

Leaks of bank transactions and checks add weight to these allegations, warranting thorough investigations and potential sanctions by the President. Reports of LISGIS officials’ lack of cooperation with the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) further highlight the urgent need for accountability.

CENTAL calls on President George Weah to demonstrate zero tolerance for corruption by suspending the officials implicated in these allegations pending the LACC’s investigation. We also urge President Weah to protect Mr. G. Alex Williams, the whistleblower in this case. Protection of whistleblowers is crucial for combating corruption, and legal instruments to ensure their protection have already been proposed by the Executive.

The gravity of these allegations demands decisive action from the President. Turning a blind eye to corruption allegations to protect officials undermines the fight against corruption and erodes public trust. Liberia cannot afford further delays in the census and related democratic processes due to corruption.

To be taken seriously on the international stage, Liberia must enforce anti-corruption measures rigorously and prioritize the fight against corruption as a cornerstone of its development agenda. With recent reports highlighting impunity for corruption and weak enforcement of anti-corruption laws, timely and concrete actions from the Liberian Government are crucial.

We call on all public officials to denounce corruption and act with integrity. President Weah must demonstrate genuine political will in the fight against corruption, translating words into decisive actions against officials implicated in corruption allegations.

Finally, we reiterate our call for increased support to the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission and other public integrity institutions to effectively combat corruption and ensure transparent governance in Liberia.

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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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