The UN Envoy expressed commitment to working with the Liberian Government in achieving the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development. However, he noted that UN adheres strictly to its fiduciary standards to safeguard UN funds against misuse and integrity risks.Public Policy 

Weah’s govt: Officials digging deep in public funds as corruption flourishes

 

By Socrates Smythe Saywon

Monrovia – It appears the fight against corruption in Weah’s CDC-led government is weak as some senior officials of his administration are taking advantage of Mr. Weah’s inexperience and apparent noninterest in the government he leads digging deep in public funds as corruption flourishes.

Liberians are questioning President Weah’s own approach in tackling corruption in the country, but these calls are landing on deaf ears, as President Weah, is yet to hold a press conference or address any of the issues, especially corruption that has swallowed his government.

For example, there is a chain of corruption associated with public officials at the Liberia Water Seward Corporation (LWSC) recently with two of its senior administrators, Mr. Duannah A. Kamara, Managing Director, and his Deputy manager for Finance, Mr. Sensee J. Morris that were suspended by the President following reports of disturbances and allegations of corruption. The President according to reports, instructed the pair remain suspended pending a full-scale investigation by mandating the General Auditing Commission (GAC) to conduct an immediate investigative audit and report to him within 30 days.

Before the suspension of Kamara and Morris by the President, claims, and counterclaims of alleged corruption connecting Kamara and his deputy at the corporation were well known. The President’s decision to suspend both men came when leaked audiotape revealed that Kamara allegedly misappropriated 99 gallons of gasoline donated to LWSC by the World Bank, to aid the operation of Liberia’s water plant, an act of sabotage by the corporation’s own head.

In one of the recordings, the LWSC’s Managing Director Kamara is heard in a heated verbal exchange with his deputy Morris over the withdrawer of some US$99,000 from a local bank account.

Morris claimed that he halted the withdrawer of the fund because he was not aware of the transactions; while Mr. Kamara complained that Morris’ action has caught the attention of Finance and Development Planning Minister, Samuel Tweah.

Duannah Kamara has been at the center of corruption, for some time, and this is not his first incident. It can be recalled, during the interim government of the late Chairman Charles Gyude Bryant, Duannah Kamara was publicly humiliated, and arrested in Monrovia for alleged corruption. Duannah’s humiliation was based upon his implication into manipulating of banks checks, in an effort to steal from the government.

The President’s mandate has since elapsed on July 10, 2021, with no report from the GAC on the two men’s corruption report with neither action from the government itself.

At the Buchanan Port, the Port Manager, Charles Gull, has been suspended by the management of the National Port Authority (NPA), for allegedly stealing over US$200,000 from the government of Liberia.

Charles Gull along with his Chief Statistician, Amara Kamara was suspended on Friday, July 16, 2021, for their alleged involvement in diverting monies intended for the government of Liberia into their personal accounts. According to reports from National Port Authority, the money was remittances reportedly paid by Arcelor Mittal and Equatorial Palm Oil for the exportation of iron ore and palm oil out of Liberia via the port in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.

Gull was appointed by President George Manneh Weah to manage the affairs of the Port of Buchanan, based upon recommendations, according to sources from some hierarchies within the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).

However, the two NPA outstation employees were arrested by agents of the National Security Agency (NSA) for interrogation, but nothing has been heard since.

Also at the National Transit Authority (NTA), employees accused the NTA Managing Director, Mr. McCauley of corruption, nepotism, and bad labor practice and stressed the need for the President to remove him as head to further save the entity and the image of the government.

The Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) on Thursday, July 22, picked up the Managing Director of the National Transit Authority (NTA) following allegations of financial impropriety by workers of the NTA who staged a protest on Wednesday in demand for four months’ salary arrears and called for his removal.

Mr. Harbie McCualey was escorted to the headquarters of the LACC by investigators of the Anti-Corruption Commission and officers of the Liberia National Police after he was picked up from his offices in New Georgia on Somalia Drive.

After the arrest of Mr. McCauley, employees of the NTA expressed excitement over his arrest by the LACC.

However, Smart News Liberia has gathered that his arrest and interrogation is part of an aggressive drive to preemptively enforce financial regulation across government as opposed to waiting to investigate.

Smart News further gathered the government through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning is developing a new expenditure tracking system that would enable the public to follow public spending in real-time.

The arrest of the NTA boss is the first major action taken by the newly appointed boss of the LACC Cllr. Edwin Martins. He was inducted into office the same day McCauley was arrested.

Cllr. Martins declined to speak to journalists on the arrest, on grounds that the arrest was the first step and preliminary investigation. He, however, called on the public to be calm and trust the LACC.

There are also murmurs within the CDC itself with the National Youth League of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (NYL-CDC) condemning the display of ostentatious wealth on the part of Assistant Minister of state J. Emmanuel Potter. The NYL-CDC said the action of Emmanuel Potter who couldn’t afford a 2,500 USD vehicle years back will in less than three years be displaying and popping champagne over a luxurious Audi Q7 vehicle.

However, the fight against corruption in Liberia is a challenge as successive governments have not shown the political will to prosecute corrupt public officials.

Recently, the Center for Transparency and Accountability (CENTAL), a non-governmental integrity institution, through its Executive Director Mr. Anderson Miamen said that Liberia continues to struggle with addressing impunity due to limited political will, weak implementation of laws, and policies…

Also, the Executive Director of NAYMOTE Partners for Democratic Development, Eddie Jarwolo in a Facebook post on Thursday, July 8, reminded the Liberian leader of the LWSC audit, urging him that “accountability matters, leadership”.

Mr. Jarwolo writes: “Mr. President today is July 8. 28 days gone, just a reminder Mr. President.

Accountability matters.

No business as usual as some people anticipated that nothing would come out of this investigation but waiting for your action Mr. President.”

 

Main Photo: George Weah /the independent

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