National Integrity Forum Wants Media; CSOs Launch Robust Fight Against Corruption In Liberia

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MONROVIA – The National Integrity Forum of Liberia has called on the Liberian media and Civil Society actors to muster the courage and launch a robust fight against corruption in Liberia.

The Acting Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of the Public Procurement and Concessions (PPCC), Attorney Roseline Kowo described the media as reliable partner to work with in the expulsion of corruption in the society.

She said when the media join forces with other robust and integrity civil society institutions to fight corruption; it will help other government’s integrity entities like the General Auditing Commission (GAC), Public Procurement and Concessions (PPCC), and the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) to be strong in fighting corruption.

She described the media and civil society actors as the first battle frontline in the fight against corruption in Liberia.

“If we have the media working with us to fight corruption, our country Liberia will be develop especially when the media continue to expose this ugly act of corruption,” she said.

Speaking Wednesday in Monrovia at a one-day media and civil society organizations engagement forum on anti-corruption, the NIF boss noted the collaboration of the National Integrity Forum and media and CSOs is to always remain constructively engaged with strategies and action in the country.

The one-day round-table discussion held under the theme, “In union strong, success is sure; we will over all prevail”, brought together national stakeholders including media executives representing various media institutions, civil society actors, international partners and government officials.

The Chief Executive Officer of the PPCC further stressed that the NIF needs investigative journalism and good practices which according to her will come to the public in a balance form to enhance the fight against corruption in all sectors.

She also calls on civil society organizations to increase their monitoring mechanisms and report corruption cases and create the space to encourage citizen’s participation in the anti-corruption process in the country.

“The Media and civil society organizations, what we need from you is critical thinking and actions; we need constructive engagement and we will also work with you in the fight against corruption in this country.” Atty. Kowo stressed.

Atty. Kowo said it is about time that stakeholders across the country exert collective efforts to strengthen proactive engagement aim at enforcing transparency and Accountability for a good governance system.

She also called on members of the NIF to lead by examples and join the fight and be robust as well.

“The institution will only preach the standards of integrity but also members of the NIF must lead by example in the public; this will encourage other citizens to follow suit in the fight against corruption,”

She however admonished citizens across the country to take ownership in the fight against corruption, adding that the student community including religious leaders and community leaders are key in achieving the goals of the National Integrity Forum.

“Let us work collaboratively or take action now so as to buttress the effort of the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development.” She averred.

The National Integrity Forum was established in May of 2020 as a collaborative effort of integrity-based institutions in government, civil society and business to assist in the fight against corruption through dialogue to rectify the unbearable effects of corruption and promote a culture integrity in Liberia.

“Thanks for all of these recommendations made to the NIF, we can assure you they will put somewhere else without use but we will work with them to strengthen our fight against corruption in this country. Atty. Kowo lamented. 

Atty. Kowo said the NIF aims at promoting an opportunity for state and non-state actors concerned with issue of integrity and the fight against corruption to exchange views on building integrity systems and fight corruption in Liberia.

“The institutions were of the conviction that the united they were, the stronger the interventions will be for the fight. Also, the National Integrity Forum seeks to achieve by providing a forum that promotes integrity standards in the effective collaboration, coordination and review.” She added.

The PPCC boss further stressed that the institution is intended to support the fight against corruption in a holistic, systematic and sustainable manner and recommend effective policy promulgation, coordination and implementation mechanisms to advance good governance.

Also speaking as representative of the Civil Society Organizations, Accountability-Lab Executive Director Lawrence Yealue said it is difficult for national government to realize the workings of the CSOs in the national governance system.

According to him, CSOs are partners in progress to national government contrary to the perception of some public officials who he said termed the CSOs are anti.

“We are not watchdog but we want to be critical voice in every part across the country.” Mr. Yealue noted.

Also making an official statement on behalf of the Liberian media, the Editor-In-Chief of the Heritage Newspaper, Augustus D. R. Bortue expressed optimism that the National Integrity Forum takes immediate or gradual actions following the stakeholder meeting.

He also admonished the NIF to establish a networking system which will include the media, CSOs and lined institutions involved from national government.

“The media remains committed to promoting your workings and we pray that these kinds of discussions be held frequently to strengthen the fight against corruption in Liberia.” Mr. Bortue said.

For his part, the Executive Director of CENTAL, Anderson Miame described corruption as a virus and called on all state actors to join the fight.

He CENTAL stands ready to work every sector that is ready to fight corruption.

The Forum comprises a Steering Committee and a Technical Committee. The thirteen-member Steering Committee is a collegiate body made up of the heads of member institution and is the highest decision-making body of the institution.

The institution is also headed by a Chairperson and assisted by a Co-Chairperson from one of the institutions, the leadership of the Committee is charged annually by being rotated among the various member institutions.

The founding members of the National Integrity Forum were the Public Procurement and Concessions Commission (PPCC), Governing Commission (GC), Ministry of Justice (MoJ), Civil Service Agency (CSA), Internal Audit Agency (IAA), General Auditing Commission (GAC), Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) and the Center for Transparency and accountability in Liberia (CENTRAL) and later, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and the Law Reform Commission (LRC), respectively.

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