World Bank Official Calls for Collective Efforts in Fight against Corruption
Tubmanburg, Bomi – A World Bank Senior Financial Specialist, Cari Votava, has called for a concerted effort in the fight against corruption, which continues to be a stumbling block for national development in Liberia.
Report by Gerald C. Koinyeneh, [email protected]
Ms. Votava, addressing students of the Bomi Community College (BCC) recently in Tubmanburg, said the fight against corruption should not be left with the government alone as it affects everyone.
In her anti-corruption message, she noted that the menace is practiced in every country but is less prevalent in some countries because the risk of getting caught is high.
“Nobody is more or less corrupt. But in most European countries and the United States, the risk of getting caught is very high. That’s why corruption is low. There are systems that discourage corruption,” she informed.
For countries with high incident of corruption, she added that those nations’ governments are deprived the needed resources to operate more effectively and as a result their citizens live in abject poverty.
She acknowledged that Liberia has good anti-corruption laws but needs full implementation; while at the same time called on Liberians to support the government’s fight against corruption by reporting bribery, fraud and other forms of malpractices.
According to her, preventive method should be placed at the core in the fight against the menace as well as allowing the anti-graft institutions and law enforcement agencies like the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), Ministry of Justice (MOJ), General Auditing Commission (GAC) and the Liberia National Police (LNP) to fully implement their constitutional mandate.
“Many countries in the world don’t have preventive measures in place, especially on the day-to-day basis. When a nation is more corrupt, many investors don’t want to invest there, because they don’t want to be paying bribes, which can cause problems. You need good laws; laws that prevent corruption and criminalize corruption. The law must state that bribery is a criminal offense. One who takes bribe should be prosecuted and the money taken should be given back to the state. The penalty for corrupt officials or individuals needs to be high with longer time in prison.”
In addition, the World Bank Financial expert called for every government ministry and agency to have at least a lawyer, an ethics officer and a freedom of information officer to give legal and ethical pieces of advice.
She also called for a specialized training in financial investigation.
Dr. Zobong Norman, president of the college, thanked Ms. Votava for providing his students with such an opportunity and hoped that the students will make good use of the insightful thoughts.