A recent study on Liberia’s Anti-Corruption Strategy shows that Legislations constituting Agencies and Commissions are written in isolation and without due diligence, resulting in conflicting roles and responsibilities with specific reference to the PPCC, NBC, NIC, NOCAL, Central Bank and Inter-Ministerial Concession Committee.
The findings which focused on Liberia National Anti-Corruption Strategy, covering the period (2006 -2008), was carried out by Dr. John E. Harvey of DAH Consulting, Inc. under the auspices of the Governance Commission.
At a Roundtable last week on the NACS in Monrovia, Governance Commission Chairman, Dr. Amos C. Sawyer, said fighting corruption is one of the key factors to achieving economic growth, but requires full cooperation, coordination and even collaboration with those entities that have the power to bring corrupt officials to justice, something, which will require strengthening the justice system in Liberia.
According to observations from the assessment, Liberia’s Anti-Corruption planning is not pro-active, stressing the need for coordinated efforts with key stakeholders to focus resources on anti-corruption priorities, and also identify opportunities for resource sharing.
It said the Judiciary has made reforms in decentralization of courts and in making legal resources available to the indigent, but these programs have not been sustainable leading to compromises in quality and integrity, citing as an example, the Public Defenders program.
The report says during the exercise, survey participants felt the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission is a resource for reporting corruption so there is need to make it more accessible with emphasis on consumer education on the impact of corruption, which will help increase reporting and lead the fight against the practice.
“Public education and awareness programs are limited to billboards with little civic engagement. This is especially evident in the counties where residents have expressed that they had not participated in education and awareness programs”, the finds read.
Meanwhile, the report has recommended for the establishment of a fast track court to try corruption cases, stressing that this is a matter of urgency as there are severe bottlenecks in the court system, which limits trial of corruption cases.
It also called for development of the human capacity of the Ministry of Justice to perform investigation, prosecution and trial of cases as well as institutional and human capacity of the LACC to effectively investigate and prosecute corruption cases.
The report says the LACC, GC, PPCC, LEITI, GAC, MOJ as key institutions in providing transparency, accountability and efficiency in public procurement and the uase of public resources should develop a joint program in educating the public and building public awareness in the implementation of various oversight mechanisms and support to anti-corruption. By Jonathan Browne