By Socrates Saywon
The Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia [CENTAL] wants issues of corruption dealt with in the country, efficiently and according to the law. According to CENTAL upon learning of the corruption saga at the Liberia Anti Corruption Commission or LACC, it reached out to the Commission to inquire about claims and counterclaims raised by the parties including, but not limited to, unlawful salary payments, unaccountability of cash advances received, purchase of Government property, amongst others pertinent issues, but is yet to get clear cut answers on the matters.
The agency says while it welcomes the LACC’s internal investigation, the CENTAL strongly believes that such grave allegations involving senior officials of the Commission in which Mr. Kiano Gbala is involved cannot be left to the institution alone to investigate. Therefore, it was calling on President George Manneh Weah to constitute an independent committee to timely investigate the matter and inform the public about its outcomes.
CENTAL said: “If not timely and properly investigated and the recommendations fully implemented, these allegations may detract from the goodwill anti-corruption institutions have received from the public over the years, including dampening public confidence in the country’s leading anti-corruption institution.”
The CENTAL statement further narrated given that the LACC has been in the media for all the wrong reasons lately, especially claims and counterclaims about the citizenship and credibility of the immediate past chairperson and allegations of corruption involving its vice-chairperson, in the spirit of collaboration and partnership, as provided for in section 6.2 of the LACC Act, CENTAL urges President George Manneh Weah to widely consult with critical stakeholders (civil society and development partners) in making new nominations at the LACC. And that qualified females should be strongly considered in such appointments to avoid an all-male and gender-bias Board of Commissioners, in violation of section 6.3 of the 2008 LACC Act.
Also, Matthew Nyanplu, a Liberian journalist studying in Madrid, Spain, said in a statement that no serious institution that has the fight against corruption as its number one objective will take Kanio Gbala a serious bit.
“Let me be clear. I do not doubt Fahnbulleh and the LACC’s assertion about this. I believe the LACC’s assertion and I did not believe at any point in my lifetime that Kanio Gbala is of the moral rectitude to hold a key anti-corruption position in our country. But this is the bit-George Weah is not serious about fighting corruption in Liberia, so no serious anti-corruption figure will go to the LACC during his administration,” Nyanplu stated.
According to the Liberian Journalist, President Weah or Kanio Gbala has a record of no anti-corruption fight in Liberia. He noted that Liberia is wasting its resources to keep this man as the most senior anti-corruption fighter in the country.
“But we are in Liberia, the administration is living in corruption. So it goes,” Matthew concluded.
The act allegedly committed by Mr. Kiano Gbala according to political observers, does not exhibit good character and therefore, he is unfit to serve as chairman of the LACC as carved in Part 6, Section 6.3 of the LACC’s Act of 2008.
Gbala, reports say received a daily sustenance allowance (DSA) of L$50,000 and fuel valued at US$1,474.75, and scratch cards also valued at US$300 to travel to Grand Gedeh but never made the trip. According to the report, Cllr. Gbala refused to return the money, the fuel, and the scratch cards, he is also accused of double dipping, receiving two salaries from two separate institutions, both the UNDP and the LACC, claiming to have resigned from the UNDP, while in fact he did not.
Main Photo: Kiano Gbala, LACC Acting Chair