Liberia’s President George Manneh Weah, says while some of the public debates about corruption in the country is laden with unsubstantiated claims and propaganda-driven, his government has nonetheless made the fight against the vice a top priority.
“We have acted without hesitation wherever and whenever there has been sufficient probable cause to do so – regardless of who was involved,” the President on Tuesday, September 16, 2020, told participants and panelists at the opening of an Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission in Congo Town.
“These actions on the part of the government have led to dismissals, resignations, arrests and arraignment of many persons, including some of the high-ranking officials of this Government.”
On his instructions, the President noted, the Ministry of Justice last year began the process of recuperating lost and stolen assets of the Republic of Liberia, calling on officials, both past and present, to account for resources which had been entrusted to them by the Liberian people.
“This process will continue in an equitable and impartial manner,” he stressed. “The principal objective is not only to retrieve public resources, but also to serve as a deterrent to potential perpetrators.”
The Liberian Chief Executive said while these actions may not yet have gained the full traction they deserve, they rest well with Liberia’s development partners – both local and international.
“For example,” the President said, “we have received their plaudits for operating a very unique and transparent budget and financial management system. And Liberia’s ranking on recent anti-corruption surveys, which gauge public perception of corruption, has improved. But we should not, and will not, rest on our laurels.”
He added: “As you are well aware, our country is endowed with vast natural resources, but we still have not reaped all of the benefits that can be attained from their efficient and responsible use. By this conference, we are seeking to change that trend. But I want you to be aware that it will take the collective effort of all of us for that to happen.”
The Liberian Leader asserted that the conference also presented a unique opportunity for Liberians and stakeholders in particular to tackle corruption which continues to exist in the society, emphasizing that it has eroded trust in national institutions and deprived communities across the country of much-needed development.”
“From time immemorial, we have come to perceive corruption as a way of life as it plagues all aspects of the Liberian society,” the President indicated, stressing that it was in response to these concerns that his Government’s four-pillar national development document, the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD), designates one of these pillars to improving governance and transparency.”
The Liberian Chief Executive intoned that these actions demonstrated government’s willingness to fight incidents of corruption and other forms of malfeasance while at the same time improving transparency and accountability in governance.
He expressed the hope that the outcome of the national conference would allow the government and partners re-focus attention on critical activities that will yield both short- and long-term results in the fight against corruption.
The two-day national anti-corruption conference organized by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission and other integrity entities is being held under the theme, “Reshaping the perception of corruption and identifying new approaches to addressing systemic corruption in Liberia.”