The Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL) expresses grave concern over recent allegations of corruption involving the Vice Chairperson of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), Cllr. Kanio Bai Gbala and Executive Director, Mohammed E. Fahnbulleh.
CENTAL in a news conference Thursday, March 4, 2021, on 20th Street Sinkor, said such allegations are extremely troubling and damaging to the image of an institution of Government leading the fight against corruption.
CENTAL Executive Director Ander Miamen said the Commission and the Government of Liberia must do everything to ensure that the allegations are timely investigated to establish the truthfulness or falsity of the matter.
“Upon learning of the LACC corruption saga, CENTAL reached out to the Commission to inquire about claims and counter-claims raised by the parties, including, but not limited to, unlawful salary payments, unaccountability of cash advances received, purchase of Government property”, amongst others. He said.
Miamen noted that CENTAL reached out to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to get clarity on the date and other facts regarding the resignation of Cllr. Kanio Bai Gbala, who is alleged to have been within their employ while simultaneously being paid by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Corruption, during the latter part of 2019.
“We wish to inform the public that we have received positive feedbacks from these institutions. Both the LACC and UNDP have launched separate investigations to establish the facts, which we hope will be timely communicated to the public”, says Miamen.
He added that CENTAL welcomes the LACC’s internal investigation, saying, “we strongly believe that such grave allegations involving senior officials of the Commission cannot be left to the institution alone to investigate.”
At the same time CENTAL calls on President George Manneh Weah to constitute an independent committee to timely investigate the matter and inform the public about its outcomes.
The institution cautions that the allegations surrounding the corruption saga may detract from the goodwill anti-corruption institutions had received from the public over the years, including dampening public confidence in the country’s leading anti-corruption institution.
Meanwhile CENTAL says in the wake of the resignation of LACC former chairperson, Cllr. Ndubuisi Nwabudike, the Commission has an all-male Board of Commissioners, thus falling short of the gender sensitivity provided for in section six (6) of the LACC Act.
Miamen says with all three (3) Commissioners being males, the need for ensuring gender mainstreaming at the highest level of the Commission cannot be overly emphasized, adding that the LACC has been in the media for all the wrong reasons lately, especially claims and counter claims about the citizenship and credibility of the immediate past chairperson and allegations of corruption involving its vice chairperson.
He said in the spirit of collaboration and partnership, as provided for in section 6.2 of the LACC Act, President George Manneh Weah should widely consult with critical stakeholders (civil society and development partners) in making new nominations at the LACC. And that qualified females should be strongly considered in such appointments to avoid an all-male and gender-biased Board of Commissioners, in violation of section 6.3 of the 2008 LACC Act.
By Lewis S. Teh–Editing by JonathanBrowne