Monrovia – The anti-graft advocacy group, Center for Transparency and accountability in Liberia (CENTAL) has rebuked a FrontPage Africa’s publication which it says indicates that the Weah-led Government is less corrupt as compared to its predecessor.
On Tuesday, August 25, 2020, FrontPage Africa published a news article, under the caption “Liberia Less Corrupt Under Weah-led Government?”
In the story, FPA reported that theruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) has drawn up a comparison from data attained from Transparency International’s 10th Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) capturing the corruption index of 2019 which shows that corruption in Liberia was minimized in 2019 compared to its soaring heights in 2015 when Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was President.
According to the report which can be found at https://www.transparency.org/en/gcb/africa/africa-2019/results/lbr, overall bribery rate under the Sirleaf’s regime was at 69 percent compared to 53 percent under George Weah’s leadership.
But in a press conference on Wednesday, CENTAL, the Executive Director of CENTAL, Anderson D. Miamen said, although, FPA did not alter the report, it unfairly portrayed the report which was officially released in July 2019 as though it was a new report that was launched recently.
Mr. Miamen said the 10th edition of GCB was officially released by Transparency International in July 2019 and CENTAL communicated the results of the GCB to the Liberian public on July 11, 2019 through a press conference and community engagements in New Kru Town and Old Road communities.
“Considering the report new after a year of its release is likely to impress upon the public a high degree of recency. Such position of FPA, we believe, could be simply justified by the slightest indication of the GCB’s date of publication-thus affording the readers the opportunity to weigh-in on the newness of the report, Miamen said.
Speaking further, Miamen noted that CENTAL has observed that the report is being used to draw parallels between the administrations of President Weah and that of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
While CENTAL appreciates the use of the report in highlighting corruption and its trends in Liberia, Miamen said it was important that any further analysis is based on careful reading of methodological approaches to the study.
Giving detail about the 2019 GCB report, he explained that Transparency International partnered with Afrobarometer and Omega Research, which spoke to 47,105 respondents across 35 countries in Africa on their perceptions about corruption and direct experiences with bribery.
The Survey across the continent took place between September 2016 and September 2018, and in Liberia, 1,200 respondents were targeted between June 2016 and July 2018, he added.
Considering that the Johnson-Sirleaf’s administration steered national affairs during the period covering June 2016 to January 2018 (one year six months of the survey period), and that the Weah administration assumed the helm of leadership between January to July 2018 (six months of the survey period), the CENTAL boss noted that it is only fair to acknowledge that the results of the GCB report cover both administrations, especially the previous government that had one year six months of its time covered, compared to just six months of the current government.
“Using the report to draw comparison between both administrations, therefore only serves to misrepresent the facts- something likely to undermine over two years of painstaking research and as well as impact negatively upon the image of Transparency International,” he debunks.
He also said Unity Party’s Assistant Secretary General, Mo Alli’s assertions in the FPA’s publication that Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) is the premier and most credible of Transparency International’s survey on corruption worldwide because it is a composite index reflecting the results of 13 different reputable surveys was not true.
He clarified that Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) and the GCB are all credible reports and indicators of corruption worldwide, despite some differences in methodology and focus. The CPI he, explains, is a composite study that focuses on public sector corruption and draws its findings from available credible sources, based on expert opinions, while the GCB samples the views of ordinary citizens and direct victims about their experiences regarding corruption and focuses on all sectors of society, including government, media, civil society, and religious institutions.
In irrespective of their focus, findings and periods of coverage, he added that both reports are credible and can be used to inform discussions and decisions bordering on governance, accountability and transparency issues, especially in Liberia.