International media monitored by this paper recently disclosed a 15-year jail sentence for a former South African National Police Commander for corruption.
Jackie Selebi, a former President of the ANC Youth League, representative of South Africa at the United Nations and close ally of former President Thabo Mbeki, is the most senior government official to be convicted by a court in that country in July of receiving bribes from a convicted drug dealer Glenn Agliotti.
Selebi is said to have received 1.2m rand ($156,000; £103,000) from the drug dealer to turn a blind eye to his business. The 60-year-old former National Police Commissioner was also well connected in the ruling African National Congress government.
We strongly harbor the belief that the South African Government may have instituted the action against its former Police Chief to discourage would-be corrupt officials and others outside of government, who may want to capitalize on their various connections and active participation in the liberation struggle to engage in acts incompatible with the objectives of the ANC Government.
No wonder why the republic of South Africa has become the center of attractions for the rest of the International Community. But for us in Liberia, it is the complete opposite of what’s obtaining in South Africa and elsewhere in our Global community.
That is why we, at the New Dawn wholeheartedly welcomed as very practical in the current administration, the issues of corruption and sectionalism raised by the National Independence Day Orator, Monsignor Robert Tikpor on July 26 in Sanniquellie, Nimba County, as two of the many vices retarding Liberia’s growth and development.
In Liberia’s case, the fight against corruption may never be a success owing to the fact that there are “special Liberians” and “special interests” who are and may continue to be immune from prosecution despite being dismissed or coerced by the President of Liberia to resign.
We vividly remember the corruption situations involving the former Depputy Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia, Ethel Davis, Deputy Police Director for Operations, Al Karley, Deputy Director General of the General Service Agency, Richard Fallah, as well as Former Internal Affairs Minister Ambullai Johnson who are now either recycled or “passing around” Monrovia with impunity. How then, can we be serious to fight corruption when these individuals are all special Liberians?
While President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf may be well grounded in terms of her connections and contacts within the IMF, World Bank, United Nations and a few influential members of the Republican party of the United Sates of America, which has attracted a lot of assistance to our country only because she may have worked with these institutions, the credibility of the administration back home, with respect to the support given corruption, remains at stake.
And if Liberia must grow and make further progress without hindrances, we must learn from the South African example. While we do agree that some of President Sirleaf’s officials may have contributed immensely to her success to the leadership of this country, we do believe that they must be the ones to help us graduate from our bad state of poverty.
The Ellen Administration must take the fight against corruption seriously and not pay lip-service as we see and hear around here. If and only if the South African example can be followed, great things will happen. It is time to name and shame; the bitter pills must be swallowed!