The Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL) says it is deeply concerned about Liberia’s continuous underperformance, especially its position among the ‘worst decliners’ worldwide for the Corruption Perception Index (CPI).
CENTAL’s comment came Tuesday, 5 February while announcing results of the 2018 CPI, putting in low marks for Liberia.
In the report, globally Liberia ranks 120 out of 180, with a CPI score of 32.
CENTAL furthers that Liberia’s CPI score has declined from 41 in 2012 to 32 in 2018 correspondingly.
Compared to other countries, Liberia is among the biggest decliners since 2012, dropping by 9 points from 41 to 32.
While countries like Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Senegal are improving their governance and democratic credentials, CENTAL says Liberia is fast declining in its fight against corruption.
According to CENTAL’s statement, this decline speaks to government’s inability to address entrenched culture of impunity and enforce existing anti-corruption laws and policies.
CENTAL intimates that no effort has been made to comprehensively audit the past administration of former President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf and prosecute allegedly corrupt officials, and violation of the Code of Conduct for public officials.
CENTAL warns that limited moral and financial support to public integrity institutions as well as plans to remove tenured positions are counterproductive to the fight against corruption in the country.
The report evaluates the first year of President George Manneh Weah and the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC)-led government, highlighting the need for concrete and deliberate actions to deal with corruption and impunity in Liberia.
CENTAL recommends that to reverse the trend and improve Liberia’s standing in the region and globally, officials of all three branches of government here should declare their assets, incomes and liabilities, in full compliance with the Code of Conduct for public officials.
CENTAL says the Liberia Anti Corruption Commission recently reported a limited compliance by current officials, especially among those in the executive and legislature, saying it needs urgent attention.
“Such declarations, including those of officials from the previous government, must be verified, findings published and recommendations fully implemented,” the statement adds.
CENTAL also recommends that a comprehensive audit of the past administration is commissioned to ensure that those who embezzled public resources are identified and prosecuted.
CENTAL urges government to ensure the independence and vibrancy of anti-corruption institutions by giving them full moral, financial and logistical support to effectively operate.
It also urges government to ensure safe and secure environment for the media, civil society and other advocates to thrive.
The CPI was established in 1995 and is used to measure perceptions of corruption in the public sector in different countries and territories around the world.
CPI scores and ranks countries based on how corrupt their public sectors are perceived, drawing on 13 surveys of experts and business people.
The score ranges from 0 to 100, where 0 equals the highest level of perceived corruption, while 100 equals lowest level of perceived corruption.This year, 180 countries were targeted, just as in 2017.
The results paint a sadly familiar picture: more than two-thirds of countries score below 50, while the average score is just 43. Perhaps most disturbing is that the vast majority of countries assessed have made little to no progress, including Liberia that is among the worst declining countries since 2012.
From a CPI score of 41 in 2012, which showed appreciable progress, Liberia has since dropped by 9 points to 32.
Only 20 have made significant progress in recent years, including Ivory Coast that has increased by 8 points since 2013.
In Africa, the best performers include Seychelles (66), Botswana (61), Cape Verde (57) Rwanda (56) respectively.
Meanwhile, in West Africa, the best performers include Senegal (45), South Africa (43), and Ghana (41), while the worst performers are Guinea (28), Sierra Leone (30), and Liberia (32).
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor –Edited by Winston W. Parley