Monrovia – Corruption is endemic at every level of the Liberian government. Corruption is not specifically a punishable crime under Liberian law. When President Sirleaf took office in 2006, she announced that corruption was “the major public enemy.”
In 2014 the US Ambassador to Liberia stated that corruption here was harming people through “unnecessary costs to products and services that are already difficult for many Liberians to afford”.
In the US State Department’s 2015 Human Rights Report on Liberia, it was highlighted that Liberia’s laws do not provide criminal penalties for official corruption. There are criminal penalties for economic sabotage, mismanagement of funds, and other corruption-related acts.
The 2013 US State Department report said that low pay levels for the Liberian civil service, minimal job training, and few court convictions have exacerbated official corruption and have helped to foster a culture of impunity.
In 2012 the Liberian central government dismissed or suspended a number of officials for corruption. Auditor General Robert L. Kilby and General Services Agency Director General Pealrine Davis-Parkinson were dismissed for conflicts of interest.
Deputy Justice Minister Freddie Taylor, Deputy Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN) Commissioner Robert Buddy, former solicitor general Micah Wright, and BIN Border Patrol Chief Wilson Garpeh were dismissed for alleged involvement in human trafficking.
The Deputy Public Works Minister Victor Smith was suspended for allegedly violating the law but was reinstated a week later following an investigation.
President Sirleaf dismissed the chairman and other board members of the Liberia Airports Authority amid corruption allegations; an assistant labor minister was also dismissed for issuing work permits to foreigners after allegedly taking bribes.
But the Liberia National Union (LINU), one of Liberia’s oldest political parties has flagged that the incumbent administration has failed to create the jobs it promised to the growing number of unemployed youths and professionals in the country.
LINU said President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Administration has given different nomenclatures to corruption ranging from “Public enemy # 1 now to Vampire” but cannot show the impact of her fight against corruption; in many ways the government herself has admitted to losing the fight against corruption.
Addressing the press at program marking the observance of the party’s 19th anniversary, LINU Political leader, Blama said corruption is the major driver for the increase in poverty in Liberia.
Blama said not many persons in Liberia have access to good and affordable health, asking about the quality of education delivery in the country,” he asked. The LINU political leader disclosed that the University of Liberia is currently rated at 18,023 globally and 440 among universities in Africa.
According to Blama, over 85% of the people of Liberia continue to live on the lonely island of poverty, while the few minority swims in the ocean of material wealth, saying, there are millions of disinherited Liberians throughout Liberia who dare only to dream about good life.
“With our population at about 4.1millions and more than 85% of the population unemployed, ushering in a courageous and dedicated leadership remains the only beckon light of hope to millions of destitute Liberians who felt that by the election of this administration would come as a joyous daybreak to end their long night of human suffering. 10 years on people are still living on less then dollar a day,” he noted.
The LINU political leader said under these circumstances, the political opposition and civil society have yet to also attain the level of institutional development and operational efficiency required to optimize their role in strengthening Liberian’s democratic culture, even in the prevailing political climate where the human rights of all Liberians are relatively more respected, and the democratic space is available for innovative initiatives to be taken by opposition political parties and civil society to consolidate political pluralism and social justice in Liberia.
Commenting on the drawdown of UNMIL in Liberia, Blama said in the face of UNMIL drawdown, LINU is urging the government to be more robust in strengthening the security sector at all levels.
“We strongly believe that the provision of the needed logistics to the security sector will enhance performance in addition to more training and better incentives, we as a people and nation must start to develop self-esteem so that we can make it and don’t depend on outsiders to do everything for us, our party has come a long way after more than 20 years of existence and 19 years of institutionalization with the burning desire for the preservation of peace and stability in the nation. Both moral values are necessary condition for the enhancement of the needs for the conglomeration of our people,” he noted.
He said LINU has assiduously worked as a party with a focus of renewed vigor and great commitment for the motherland. The party is prepared against all odds to help provide the national leadership at all levels that has been missing in Liberia; a government by the people, of the people and for the people of Liberia.