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Govt. strengthens fight on corruption

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As a member of the United States-Africa Partnership on Illicit Finance or PIF, the Government of Liberia has reiterated its commitment to transparency and fighting graft, among others.

In a press release issued in Monrovia, the government says a National Action Plan has been created as an additional means to curbing illicit finance from corruption, tax evasion and other financial crimes.

It says the plan focusses on three key areas: Promoting transparency; combating corruption and the loss of government revenues to criminal activity; and combating impunity and promoting accountability with the involvement of civil society and the private sector.

Government pledges to, among others, promote transparency, make annual, verifiable public declarations of financial interests and conflicts of interest regarding elected and cabinet-level officials and their families; identify foreign accounts held by such officials and their families even via proxy, and waive legal rights to any foreign accounts not declared.

The release says government also intends to adopt legislations or requirement that compel companies bidding on license for natural resource extraction or government procurement activities to disclose their beneficial owners, make effective use of beneficial ownership information in connection with asset declaration, public procurement, tax compliance and illicit financial flows as well as implement Open Government Partnership (OGP) commitments to increase transparency.

Government also promises to ensure independence of those investigating and prosecuting corruption, including granting them adequate judicial, prosecutorial and enforcement authority to fulfill their mandates, as well as timely, planned, reliable and sufficient financial resources to carry out their tasks.

According to the release, government would adopt measures in the health sector to prevent corruption, including designing an informed anti-corruption strategy for the health sector to improve transparency of drug prices, publishing health budgets, facilitating public tracking of services and funds to prevent theft, providing training to prevent sale/use of counterfeit drugs and facilitating enhanced anti-corruption cooperation between neighboring countries, involving customs, suppliers, medical institutions and the police.

The authorities here says as a demonstration of commitment to combating corruption, tax evasion, other financial crimes and illicit flows of finance, the Liberian Government has strengthened the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), General Auditing Commission (GAC), Internal Audit Agency (IAA), Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC), Liberia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (LEITI) and Civil Service Agency (CSA).

Government has also established the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), Independent Information Commission (IIC) and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) with specific actions already implemented by each of these institutions in line with promoting transparency.

The release says the LEITI has adopted mandatory revenue reporting requirements for oil, gas and mining companies based in Liberia, while the PPCC is committed to ensuring that government procurement processes and procedures are standardized, written, published and easily accessible to the public; and the CSA has adopted automatic electronic salary payments for civil servants, the military, and other government employees and established salary tables.

At the same time the LACC has created, publicized and strengthened prevention hotlines and social media avenues for reporting corruption, while the LRA has prioritized building capacity in tax administration and combating tax fraud with the view of increasing transparency and efficiency of revenue collection as well as detecting and preventing tax crimes; and the FIU has strengthened existing laws of cash transaction reports, suspicious transaction reports and cross-border currency declaration through the passage of new regulations, among other anti-graft programs aimed at upholding transparency and accountability in both the public and private sectors. Press release

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