By: Frank P. Martin
MONROVIA: As President Joseph Nyuma Boakai narrows down on appointments of state officials, the Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL), has challenged the new President to change the narrative in the fight against corruption in the country.
Key to President Boakai’s campaign promises to Liberians during the 2023 Presidential and Legislative elections was his desire to see a corruption free country, as re-echoed in his inaugural address to the nation, saying “There will be no business as usual.”
CENTAL, in an open communication to President Boakai, urged him to apply efforts that would exhibit zero-tolerance for corruption.
The group also urged the Liberian President to ensure that his officials do likewise.
“Mr. President, we need actions that go beyond pronouncements,” CENTAL told President Boakai.
CENTAL: “This inertia has largely contributed to our dismal show in major indices, including the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) of Transparency International, showing a massive decline in the country’s score from 41 in 2012 to 25 in 2023.
“This is corroborated by our State of Corruption Reports, which indicate that, over the last three years, nine out of ten Liberians believe that corruption is high.
“Majority of citizens also believe that government’s commitment to tackling corruption is low. Lack of prosecution, rampant allegations of corruption, lack of political will and lack of transparency fuel these perceptions,” CENTAL told President Boakai in its open communication.
CENTAL: “For instance, government has failed to investigate and prosecute former and current government officials sanctioned by the United States Government for involvement in significant public sector corruption.
“Besides, corruption allegations involving high-profile public officials have been lingering for many years, with the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission not doing enough to either complete those investigations or prosecute the accused,” the communication to President Boakai added.
The transparency group referenced members of the House of Representatives’ recent voting through a resolution to declare and make their assets public.
The civil society group pointed out that there is a green light that the necessary conditions exist to support a robust anti-corruption effort; therefore, it is now incumbent upon President Boakai to reverse the negative trend and fulfill his campaign promises made to Liberians while seeking election for the nation’s highest seat.
“We have heard President Pro-Tempore of the Senate, Madam Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence committing to declare and make her assets public within a month.
“We have heard the Speaker of the House, Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa’s open commitment to subject the House of Representatives to audit.
“We appreciate the open commitment of our elected officials to respect the tenant of good governance and accountability,” CENTAL added.
“While we believe these actions are steps in the right direction, we expect that members of the Legislature will not rest on their laurels, but do more to make legislative dealings and activities more transparent,” CENTAL noted.