By Socrates S. Saywon
The CDC led Weah government has placed zero efforts in the fight against corruption, according to various reports this writer has seen. The administration of George Weah has been in power for over three years since taking over from Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2017, yet Liberians and the nation have not felt the economic impact or any improvements in their lives, and with three years in his regime, the country has less to celebrate.
According to reports, the economic situation has worsened beyond imagination, and which has seen inflation and the purchasing power of the working class gotten out of hand under the Weah led administration. According to a recent IMF report, the Weah-led administration wage bill is too high resulting in rising cost of living, which has seen devastating effects in a country where more than 64 percent of the population live below the poverty line.
The bleak economic situation Liberia faces did not just come about, but are due to several rash decisions on the part of the CDC led government. It can be recalled in July of 2018, President Weah ordered cash infusion of US$25m into the economy to mop up Liberian dollars and control inflation, this process was fraught with abuse, deception and outright misapplication of the fund which saw the Liberian people cheated. Report indicates that US$8m of the US$25m has not been used to this day and no one knows where it has gone, and those to whom huge sums of monies were purportedly given in exchange for the almighty US dollar, didn’t exist.
With the disappearing of the $8m, the President announced the retirement the then Central Bank’s Governor Nathaniel Patray, which also saw the resignation of the Deputy Governor. With “major lack of systems and controls” at the institutional levels at the Central Bank of Liberia, and the carelessness with which the both the Sirleaf and Weah’s administrations has handled banking operations at the CBL, it is the Liberian people that has had to bear the consequences,” according to a CBL employee, not authorized to speak on this report.
To the disbelieve of Liberians and to make matter even worse, the investigation into that $102m or 16billion Liberian dollars in newly printed banknotes, yet again faulted the Weah’s administration for “accuracy and completeness” in the central bank’s internal records. The international auditors, Kroll noted that the CBL was not honest and was cooking its books adding “The Report identifies systemic and procedural weaknesses at the CBL, and identifies shortcomings in Liberia’s fiscal and monetary management processes that are longstanding and continue to the present day,”
Recently, Smart News and the Liberian Listener conducted interviews with some disenchanted Liberians… and the overwhelming consensus from the poll shows that the George Weah CDC led government needs to deliver! The country is extremely difficult to live in, respondents said. Poverty is difficult to accept, they contended. Corruption amongst Weah’s officials is prevalent and the citizens of the country are looking for solutions, they are tired of being taken for a ride, one administration after the other, especially this Weah-led government that came to power on the heels of promising to deliver reforms and ease the burdens of the Liberian people.
Recently, the Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL) in a press statement said, there’s no genuine political will and actions on the part of the Weah-led administration to fight against corruption. This was a sad indictment on the current administration that has been known in several quarters all along.
The statement said, “CENTAL is deeply concerned about Liberia’s continuous underperformance, especially her position among the Worst Decliners worldwide. This speaks to the Liberian Government’s inability to address the entrenched culture of impunity and fully enforce existing anti-corruption laws and policies.” According CENTAL, “There can be no successful fight against Corruption if the Rule of Law is not upheld; if the Legislature is Weak; if the laws work for others and not highly-placed government officials and their cronies and relatives; and if, among other things, investigations into major scandals such as the $25 million mopping-up exercise are seemingly endless.”
But besides these worsening economic conditions, the culture of impunity in the country continues under the Weah-CDC led government— “to get Weah to declare his assets was a tug of war, and now to make them public so the Liberian people knows what’s in there, the man has completely refused”—sadly also, even though “he campaigned while in the opposition for the establishment of the War Crimes Court he has shown no intention of setting up the Court to bring the warlords and perpetrators of the civil war era to book,” reports suggest.
Today, loyalists of the ruling Congress for Democratic (CDC) blame Liberia’s worsening economic afflictions on the withdrawal of the UN peacekeeping mission from the country. But this is not the case according the various opposition politicians. From day one since the CDC led government came to power; it has had mismanagement issues and continues to protect former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, her family and cronies—as CDC officials themselves massively engaged in corruption. Liberians are growing increasingly bitter and impatient against President George Weah, whose three years old administration clearly it seems has no solution for the poor people of Liberia who elected him to protect their interests and the country’s. According Jerome Verdier, the former head of the Truth and Reconciliation or TRC, under Weah, “Liberia is a kleptocracy, this we know, but overwhelming tendencies of criminality, impunity, autocracy, banal disregard for human rights, and the elementary principles of good governance are worrying signs that, if corrective measures are not taken to reverse this trend, Liberia may slide back to the pariah state status it once was.”
Main Photo: George Weah /Catham House