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EU backs off on corruption claims

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EU Ambassador NDThe European Union’s Ambassador to Liberia, Ms. Tina Intelmann says there’s a “significant level of corruption” here in Liberia, but the EU was not investigating agencies over corruption.

Amidst longstanding widespread corruption claims by citizens against President Ellen Johnson’Sirleaf’s Government, Ms Intelmann told Truth Fm’s Truth Breakfast show last Friday that upon receiving information about cases of corruption – particularly if it involves the EU’s money, “we’re follow that up extremely carefully.”

But she said the EU was not an investigative agency, and as such, Liberia has to bring forth these cases, though she explained that in terms of the EU’s money, there was scrutiny in place against corruption.

Speaking further on the show, Ms Intelmann said corruption is a problem here in Liberia, coupled with “a massive problem of capacity” that she sees “with her own eyes” on a daily basis, saying people speak about absorbing capacity, but she wondered if “you give $2m,” how much of that money can be realistically absorbed to the good use and how much of that money is just being wasted.

“This is what I see is a major problem…, also human capacity, because if you gave hundred cars, and nobody finally will be able to find out how to put gasoline in the cars, or how to change the wheel- how to do basic maintenance, that means that all the good initiatives that we have; all the money that we pumped in [are] going to be wasted and this is what I see with mine own eyes,” she said.
“Yes indeed, the citizens complain…, yes, these are very, very genuine complaints. But of course, we have to be mindful of the fact that every money we give; whatever money the US gives, there has to be an enabling environment in Liberia that allows people to start their own businesses,” she said.

On the other hand, the EU envoy cautioned that there should be an understanding in the society for business people to pay taxes from their revenues so that government can use the tax money to build roads and provide good health care.
“But now, what we see is that people complain that the government hasn’t done this; it hasn’t provided this – it’s true, it hasn’t, but there are deeper problems- a country with many challenges and many needs,” she said.

According to her, partners can help Liberia built roads, do the electricity, among others, due to the fact that the country is poor; but the rest is up to Liberians to elect people that they feel are going to take good care of the country.

“It’s up to you to think what you want this country to look like in 10 years- in 20 years, and then it’s up to you to built it up,” she noted. By Winston W. Parley – Edited by George Barpeen

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