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Editorial: LISGIS corruption swept under the carpet

It has become obvious that the corruption indictment against several senior officials of the Liberia Institute for Statistics and Geo-Information Service (LISGIS) is being swept under the carpet, as the Institute announces its preparedness to conduct census albeit amid lingering accountability and transparency questions.

The Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) had indicted several senior officials of LISGIS, including director Francis F. Wreh, Mr. Lawrence George, Mr. Wilmot Smith and Mr. Dominic Paye for corruption before President George Manneh Weah thru the 54th Legislature dissolved the anti-graft commission.

Thursday last week, the Deputy Director General for information and coordination at the Liberia Institute for Statistics and Geo-information Services (LISGIS) Wilmot Smith announced the Institute is ready to conduct the fifth national population and housing census for the country.

But the former LACC had documented thru an Investigative Report that Mr. Francis F. Wreh, Mr. Lawrence George and Mr. Dominic Paye in the discharge of their duties as director general, deputy director general for administration, deputy director general for information and coordination, and comptroller respectively knowingly and willfully authorized the withdrawal and spending of cumulatively US$70,000 of the census fund in June this year.

The Executive Mansion thru President Weah challenged the report on grounds that the accused were never given due process. The President then hastily moved along with the Legislature and announced the dissolution of the entire LACC and its officials, effectively trashing the indictment.

As we write, the Liberian public does not know how much money was received from foreign governments and partners for the census neither does the public know the actual amount being put in conducting the census.

And they may never know because the entire exercise is characterized by secrecy and a clear lack of transparency.

“That, Mr. Francis F. Wreh, Mr. Lawrence George, Mr. Wilmot Smith, and Mr. Dominic Paye, in the discharge of their duties as Director General, Deputy Director General for Administration, Deputy Director General for Information and Coordination, and Comptroller of LISGIS, having knowingly and willfully withdrawn and expanded the amounts of US$4,700; US$1,500, and US$2,640 (US$8,840.00) out of the Census account and paying to themselves and other staff extra compensation for performing tasks for which they were hired to do by Law, and for which they are being duly paid through monthly salary paid by the Government of Liberia(GoL), violated the following controlling Liberian laws: Subchapter D of the Penal Code Titled Bribery and Intimidation”, the LACC had documented in black and white.

The report was swept under the carpet by this administration, and it is business as usual at LISGIS where misappropriation of public funds has been deemed an acceptable norm.

We can but only bring these issues to public attention as a reminder that the way our current governing process is proceeding leaves much to be desired, as transparency and accountability have been intentionally thrown out of the window.

NewDawn

The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by the Searchlight Communications Inc. Office is located on The UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is a bilingual (both English & French).

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