Telling The Hard Truth: Top U.S. Anti-graft Envoys Call on Liberian Government to ‘Step Up’ its Fight Against Corruption
MONROVIA – The U.S. Coordinator on Global Anti-Corruption Richard Nephew and USAID’s Anti-Corruption Task Force Executive Director Shannon Green said it is time Liberian ‘step up its fight’ against corruption, especially leading up to the much-anticipated October 10 presidential and legislativeelections.
Amb. Nephew and Ms. Green are in Liberia meeting with government officials, heads of integrity institutions, civil society organizations and the media.
Speaking to the Liberian media on Tuesday following high-profile meetings with the Minister of Justice, and Finance and Development Planning, Amb. Nephew said they expressed the United States’ concern about widespread corruption in Liberia and called on the government to listen to its citizens’ demand to hold those involved in the menace accountable.
“It is our view, it is our belief that the people of Liberia are demanding accountability and demanding a demonstration that the government will hold accountable those who are engaged in corrupt act. And we very much encouraged, we very much hope and urge the Government of Liberia to investigate indication of corrupt behavior and to prosecute those accused accordingly,” Nephew said during a press conference at the U.S. Embassy.
Ms. Greene: “It was time the Liberia Government step up its fight against corruption. The U.S. Government is an enduring partner of Liberia, and part of that partnership is to be true to one another, and one of the truths we have been saying is that corruption is really undermining the promise of Liberia; that the government must step up its fight against corruption, particularly in the run up to the elections.
Continuing, she said: “And that it will take that persistent urgent action to hold corrupt action accountable to unleash the progress that is available for all Liberians and to deliver on its development promises and other economic activities.”
The Coordinator on Global Anti-Corruption position integrates and elevates the fight against corruption across all aspects of U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance, while the Executive Director of USAID’s Anti-Corruption Task Force leads USAID’s implementation of the U.S. Strategy on Countering Corruption.
Their trip to Liberia followed the Treasury Department’s sanctioning of several top government officials for public corruption last year.
While these officials resigned their posts, there have been persistent calls on the government to prosecute them, but the government has been reluctant, citing lack of evidence.
Ask if the U.S. was willing to assist the Liberian Government in prosecuting the sanctioned officials,Nephew said prosecution was solely the prerogative of the Liberian Government. He since his arrival, he has gathered that the people are demanding accountability.