By: E. Geedahgar Garsuah, Sr.
MONROVIA: The University of Liberia (UL), campus based Student Unification Party (SUP) has threatened citizens’ arrest action against all public officials named in the recent corruption report released by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC).
Petitioning the Liberia Senate on the grounds of the Capitol Building on Thursday, July 21, 2022, SUP strongly calls on the Senate to ensure that President George Manneh Weah’s officials whose names were captured in the LACC Report are made to account for their alleged corrupt actions.
Top Liberian government officials whose names were highlighted in the SUP’s latest petition presented to the Senate include Prof. Francis Wreh, Director General of Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS); Madam Jeanine Bernard, Minister of Agriculture; among several others.
Providing the Liberian Senate with a seven day ultimatum, the UL-based student political party maintained that if the Liberian Senate fails to prevail on President George Manneh Weah to act against the accused officials, citizens’ arrest action will be the next course of remedy.
SUP urged the Senate to act in the interest of the ordinary citizens by ensuring that all those accused of corruption in the LACC’s report are made to face the full weight of the law and in keeping with due-process through the court system.
SUP: “We are calling on the Liberian Senate to pressure President Weah and the Justice Minister, Musa Dean to urgently proceed to court with the accused. The Ministry of Justice is the only hope to dispense justice and not shield people accused of corruption”.
“The Senate should not turn blind eyes on the fight against corruption. The silence of the Senate is validating the stealing of census money and they are acting in similar manners as per their silence,” the SUP’s statement intoned.
LISGIS has for the past months been in the public glare on suspicious of its officials misappropriating and misapplying monies earmarked to conduct the National Population and Housing Census.
Although the National Legislature has set March 2023 for conduct of the Census, there are increasing speculations emanating from various strata of the Liberian nation that said Census may not be carried out next year as assured.
There are mounting concerns LISGIS Director General, Prof. Francis Wreh and two of his principle deputies including several other public officials depleted the funds for conduct of the Census.
The conduct of National Population and Household Census is to cost the Liberian government US$18, 956, 650. Of this total amount, the Government of Liberia is expected to make available US$6,872,243, while UNFPA including other donor partners are expected to help in meeting the total budget to conduct the census.
It can be recalled on May 15, 2019, LISGIS and the UNFPA reached a co-financing understanding in which both sides agreed that the Government of Liberia, through LISGIS, will contribute US$6,782,243 to carry out the census which has been postponed since 2019.
According to the agreement, LISGIS was expected to transfer the government’s contribution to conduct the census into the UNFPA’s bank account with the Citi Bank, located in News York, the United States of America.
It was also captured in the agreement between LISGIS and UNFPA that the payment schedule for LISGIS to make the government’s portion of the census funds to Citi Bank on the following dates: April 30, 2019, US$ 1 million; June 30, 2019, US$2millon; December 3, 2019, US$1.5millon; while the final payment of US$2, 282, 843 should have been made on June 30, 2020.