Liberia Fast Declining in Corruption Fight – Center for Transparency and Accountability

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CENTAL at a news conference disclosed that Liberia has already joined the list of countries significantly declining on the CPI since 2012, including Congo (19), Madagascar (24) and Malawi (31).

Monrovia – Liberia keeps declining in the fight against corruption, according to a new corruption index report. 

In the latest Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2019 report released by Transparency International, the Global Coalition against Corruption, Liberia’s score has significantly dropped to 28 – four points down from the 2018 score of 32.

Liberia now ranks 137/180 and sits further down the table compared to its 2018 rank of 120/180.  

Due to government failure in the fight of corruption, the Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL) has expressed dismay over the country’s rating in the latest Corruption Perception Index 2019.

The head of CENTAL, Anderson Miamen, at a news conference, disclosed that Liberia has already joined the list of countries significantly declining on the CPI since 2012, including Congo (19), Madagascar (24) and Malawi (31).

He said with the exception of Saint Lucia that has dropped sixteen (16) points since 2012, only Liberia and Syria have 13 points since 2012.

He noted that Liberia’s highest score of 41 was attained in 2012 and the country has failed to perform any greater since. 

“Instead, we have slid back into fostering a culture of corruption and significantly undermined gains made in strengthening governance, financial management, and the rule of law,” he said.

“It must be noted that Liberia’s improved performance in 2012 was mainly attributable to passage of key laws and establishment and strengthening of public integrity institutions.”

He said Liberia has since failed to make these institutions and laws work, as the laws are not enforced/respected and public integrity institutions not fully supported, morally and financially to deliver.

He said CENTAL is deeply concerned about Liberia’s continuous underperformance, especially its position among the worst decliners worldwide. 

“This speaks to the government’s inability to address entrenched culture of impunity and enforce existing anti-corruption laws and policies, limited or no effort to comprehensively audit the past administration and prosecute allegedly corrupt officials and limited moral and financial supports to public integrity institutions are counterproductive to the fight against corruption in the country,” he said. 

The CENTAL boss, however, urged the Government to lead by example in dedicating sufficient resources to the war against corruption, which remains hugely disappointing at the moment.

He added that there can be no successful fight against Corruption if the Rule of Law is not upheld and if the laws work for others and not highly-placed persons or those connected to higher-ups in government; and if, among other things, investigations into major scandals, including the $25 million Mop-Up Exercise, are disappointingly endless with no sense of finality.

“We call on the Liberian Government to prioritize and vigorously fight against corruption. There can be no better time to do so than now, especially when the country’s economy is seriously challenged and the negative impacts of corruption are glaringly visible across the country,” he said. 

CENTAL reiterates its call for the CDC-led Government to move away from talks to actions; from future to now; and from delay to speed, in taking the necessary steps to decisively address Corruption in Liberia.

The CENTAL boss said the fight against Corruption must be holistic and not seen by the public as targeting specific groups and individuals.

He said Liberia has lost millions to the corruption that must be identified, retrieved and re-invested into the economy to help alleviate the hardship ordinary citizens currently face.

To reverse the trend and improve Liberia’s standing in the region and globally, CENTAL recommends to President Weah and his Government to ensure that the law works for all and not selected few persons in society. 

He furthered recommended that government timely implement anti-corruption commitments in the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development, especially speedy establishment of a specialized Anti-Corruption Court as well as provision of direct prosecutorial power to the LACC to aid in timely processing and prosecuting Corruption Cases.

“This speaks to the government’s inability to address entrenched culture of impunity and enforce existing anti-corruption laws and policies, limited or no effort to comprehensively audit the past administration and prosecute allegedly corrupt officials and limited moral and financial supports to public integrity institutions are counterproductive to the fight against corruption in the country.”

– Anderson Miamen, Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia

“We recommend the Commissioning of a comprehensive audit of the past administration to ensure that those who embezzled public resources are identified and prosecuted. Also, recommendations contained in existing reports of LACC, GAC, IAA and other integrity institutions must be timely implemented addressing Impunity through prosecution of allegedly corrupt officials of the current regime,” the CENTAL boss said. 

Among other efforts, CENTAL also calls for investigation into the $25 million mop-up and those implicated prosecuted, timely and impartially and increasing moral and financial support to public integrity institutions to operate fully and independently. 

Since 1995, Corruption Perception Index (CPI) has been scoring and ranking countries based on how corrupt their public sectors are perceived, according to experts and business people. 

The score ranges from 0 to 100, where 0 equals the highest level of perceived public sector corruption, while 100 equals lowest level of perceived corruption.

180 countries were targeted this year as in 2018. The CPI draws upon 13 data sources which captured the assessment of experts and business executives on a number of corrupt behaviors in the public sector, including: bribery, diversion of public funds, use of public office for private gain, nepotism in the civil service, and state capture. 

Some of the sources also look at the mechanisms available to prevent corruption in a country, such as the government’s ability to enforce integrity mechanisms; the effective prosecution of corrupt officials; red tape and excessive bureaucratic burden; the existence of adequate laws on financial disclosure, conflict of interest prevention and access to information; and legal protection for whistleblowers, journalists and investigators.

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