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Editorial

EVERY LIBERIAN IN and out of this country, whether in government or not, whether related to any of the accused or not, should and must follow very pensively and with keen interest ongoing probe into allegations of bribery involving former senior and officials of the government as contained in the Global Witness report.

Comment

AT LONG LAST and as expected, the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC) came out of its shelve on Monday, to end its long reticence on the debate concerning the Christianization of Liberia as craved by some elements of the religious community, categorically rejecting such proposition that has already caused some degree of friction between and amongst Liberians.

Comment

THE CREATION OF several anti-craft institutions, as always propagated, was the government of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf way of addressing itself to the rampant corruption that asphyxiated the very fabric of the nation, cutting across every sectors and consequently undermining determination to remake and reshape Liberia after a devastating civil way so much blamed on embedded massive and rampant corruption by the True Whig Party (TWP) establishment. By this method, we are told the government wanted to restore people’s confidence in the governance process, as it was also President Sirleaf’s truest way of practicalizing her “corruption will be enemy # one” pledge to the nation.

YES, THE NATION and people briefed sigh of relief when the General Auditing Commission (GAC) came to being, followed by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LAC), Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and the Internal Auditing Agency (IAA), because the work of these entities would go a long way in holding public entities accountable to set rules and guidelines aimed to stop or curtail financial improprieties and graft. While the nation is not completely free of corruption in spite of their presence evidenced by nauseating findings coming from audits conducted, Liberians appreciated the level of work these entities have done thus far amidst serious challenges.

HOWEVER, WE ARE troubled by the latest findings of improprieties and other administrative slip-ups at the GAC as revealed in the report of the Kenyan Auditing Commission, the body authorized by authority to look at the “books” of the anti-graft entity whose performances and whose audit reports are at times challenged. We are convinced that the GAC has failed the state and its people, with this report. The report is likened to the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

FOR EXAMPLE, THE report revealed that for the period 2010, there was no clear accounting system put into place at the GAC and a number of undisclosed accounts were discovered at Eco-Bank which was never captured within the GAC bank balance, but there were transactions taking place on behalf of the institution. “Financial statements were not in accordance with the international public sector account standards, something does not augur well for the institution,” the Kenya General Auditing Commissioner said. For 2011, most of the very issues being raised in 2010 were the same issues that were also discovered in 2011, with particular reference to the purchasing of IT equipment, training of staff and many others but with no supporting documents. There were no records and deductions and remittances of employees and employers` contribution ever since and this led to accumulating liabilities of over US$593, 000.”

AS DISTRUBING AND discomforting the report given the public confidence built in the integrity of the GAC, we have no reasons to doubt its authenticity because we are aware “water only emerges when there is enough underground.” Liberia and Liberians are never badly hurt by any displayed disingenuousness than what the GAC has done, auditing and bringing others to book for the same crimes, for the same things it is involved in. it also tells that no institution of government is best suited to question another for corruption, and this is why we think the GAC, or the present administration has lost legitimacy to run the entity.

THERE ARE LOTS of things the report has done: first, it gives enormous credence to widely-held argument concerning the ‘purity’ of the GAC; it gives credence to argument concerning the ability of those charged with the responsibility to manage its affairs; it gives indefensible credence to argument about the truthfulness of some of its audits, and above all, it should not be of a great surprise because where there are people of diverse social, economic and political persuasions, like in the case of the GAC, traditionalism takes root.

FOR US THE report did not change the government’s stance on the fight against corruption, but rather scar the GAC itself, and unless the present managers are shown the red-card, the worst will surely come. With this report, this present leadership has lost credibility, and with this report, past leaderships are also tainted. Yes, we are troubled by the report concerning the conduct of the GAC because it has failed the state, and we think an urgent action is needed.

Comment

A LITTLE OVER three weeks ago, Sime Darby Liberia, one of the post-conflict investments the government landed in witnessed a kind of devastation that surpasses any form of imagination and even defies any human comprehension, given the kind of transformation, the kind of revolution and the kind of economic upliftment its presence has brought to the country, especially the direct beneficiaries- areas it is operating.

WHETHER ACTING OUT of ignorance or whether acting out of calculated premeditation to permeate wickedness, scores of citizens of its operation areas, some of whom are classic personification of waywardness and parental neglect, dealt the company an unbelievable and unforgettable blow, a blow so outlandishly uncharacteristic of the values Liberia subscribes to. As we know and regardless of the illogical civil war, Liberia is a country of peace whose people are receptive of others and friendly to strangers, and anything contrary is of evil and it is a fruit of hooliganism.

CONFLAGRATIONS ENGULED THE Malaysian oil palm company that signed a mouth-watering 63-year renewable agreement with the Liberian government over circumstances surrounding a woman who went missing, leaving hundreds of palm trees that had already reached maturity completely destroyed along with other valuable properties.

WHY THE COMPANY was targeted in such an ungodly manner remains a valid question still begging answer because there was no evidence of the management’s involvement in the missing of the woman who was later found, either there was evidence that the woman was being killed.

WAS IT ACTUALLY an expression of rejection of the fact that the woman had gone missing in the plantation of the company, or was a mere outburst of long-held anger by some citizens who are not employed with the company, or who lost contract with the company because of administrative reasons? Because it is normal that people take advantage of different means to vent their dissatisfaction with and/or disapproval of actions they are victims of.

WE THINK EITHER of the two is staked in the destruction visited upon the company that has invested so much resources in the Liberian economy, not necessarily the fact that a woman went missing even when they did not have the first clue of any foul-play on the part of the company or any of its employees. It is important to note whatsoever act an individual carries on must not be linked a company because each company has strict rules and guidelines that define the conduct of employees.

LIBERIA AS A country and people should be proud of themselves that companies of good international repute, an internationally recognized company like Sime Darby, chose their country over other developed nations with good markets that expressed interest in thei products and values.

WHAT WE WOULD like to accentuate is that landing big companies like Sime Darby, ArcelorMittal, Golden Veroleum Liberia, EXOM Mobile and others is not in itself an end to the economic problems confronting the nation, rather step toward opening up to the rest of the world to come because Liberia needs the world than any other nation on earth to be able to deal with the mountains of social, political and economic upheavals.

WHILE WE APPRECIATE the general concerns of solidarity expressed, it should be no argument that what happened at Sime Darby Plantation is an asymmetry of the Liberia so desired, and an abomination to the generally overall desire to create an environment friendly of investors because no country can stand alone. Indeed, the incident is regrettable and it sends a bad signal of how Liberians are against the interest of international companies.

Comment

LIBERIANS ARE ONCE more in the throes of another agonizing plague of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), an infectious disease with the ability to decimate its victims in a twinkling of an eye.

Comment

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