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Looking Inside From Outside – The Liberian Corruption Saga

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The issue of corruption is the one often talked about in Liberia daily. Even the children who may be less cognizant of corruption join the rest of the population to talk about, sing and recite corruption as the most popular issue in Liberia today, just as the song sung by the children in a village on a daily basis.

When Auditor General John Morlu raised the issue of the present government of Liberia being three times corrupt than the Liberia national Transitional Government of Charles Gyude Bryant, the reception and discussions were like wild fire. Such blanket indictment may have been warmly embraced because of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s commitment on her inauguration day that corruption would be “her government’s number one enemy.”

Her failure to execute the promise made has further raised so many eye-brows with regards to her sincerity. To many Liberians, including primary school students and market women, corruption has become the order of the day in Liberia without any remorse on the part those perpetrating such, including senior cabinet ministers of the government.

To even add injuries to insults, those caught in the corruption dragnet, including Former Information Minister Laurence K. Bropleh and Former Agriculture Minister Chris Toe are persuaded by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to resign to avoid the disgrace of being dismissed.

Such actions on the part of Madam President has attracted a lot of condemnations and blames from critics of the administration, most especially those involved with the scramble for political power in Liberia- I mean the politicians. Of course you don’t even blame them because she has given them the cause to do so.

One big question that remains unanswered by everyone-be it civil society, politicians, the media as well as national and international non-government organizations, is as follows: IS IT ONLY THE GOVERNMENT THAT IS CORRUPT? In my mind and those of a few other well-meaning Liberians, corruption is largely being attributed to the government of its size. And because of the President’s “big mouth” it has become the only dump-site.

But realistically, the media, human rights and other civic organizations, as well as the church, political parties among a few others are even more corrupt than the government. And these are institutions that persistently “bad mouth” the government and a few officials, even though they are given the cause to do.

I say this because of my association/affiliation with these groups, in either network or collaborative efforts-I mean….I has worked with many of these organizations, and I know them. Many individuals, including leaders in these institutions own houses on the Robertsfield highway, in Mount Barclay and Bernard Farm, as well as Brewerville and Virginia, to name a few areas. If you did an investigation, which I encourage all of us to do now and even do photos if we do want to really fight corruption, you would observe that most of these individuals own businesses, including commercial vehicles.

Funds used to acquire these properties are not earned honestly as done by some of those in government. Employees are either deprived of their just benefits and salaries or project funds are diverted without implementation (but because donors usually fail to independently monitor the implementation of these projects or programs, that’s why they go with impunity).

If one looks at the composition of the administration of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, he or she would noticed that most of its senior, junior and other officials were recruited from both national and international NGO’s, including human rights groups, and these are the one actually entrenched in corrupt practices at the various ministries and agencies of government (even though there are some officials who were just born for these positions in government because of their corrupt deeds).

Look at the National Legislature,( and I stand to be corrected), there are between 10 and 15 employees in each of the offices of the senators and representatives, with the presence of five or less felt on a daily basis in these offices. Yet still, the salaries and benefits of the rest continue to flow. Identification cards have even been given to individuals never seen around the capitol building.
Mind you, some of these very senators and representatives are part of the ban-wagon to accuse the Executive Branch. Anyway, that’s it.

I may not be in the position to discuss the media, relative to the issue of corruption now. I  will appeal that you pardon me because I’ld like to be extensive in dealing with such matter because we are the medium through which corruption matters are reported to the public. Digging up and reporting, as well as discussing corruption issues publicly should mean that we, the journalists, are free of corruption.

But the facts remained that corruption of various forms is exported from the homes, through the neighborhood, community and society to the government, and does not begin in government.

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