By Lewis S. Teh
The Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL) has launched its State of Corruption (SCORE) Report 2021, with about 90 percent of the country’s population is of the view that corruption remains rampant with a lack of confidence in the public sector to addressing the situation.
The report states that the corruption level in Liberia is high with the majority of respondents not having confidence in the Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary branches of government to fight the menace.
Presenting the Report Tuesday, September 28, 2021, at Cape Hotel in Mamba Point, a diplomatic enclave of Monrovia, CENTAL Program Manager, Attorney Gerald D. Yeakula said, nearly eight in ten respondents witnessed corruption either through observation or participation over the last 12 months, with bribery being the most form of corruption witnessed.
According to Atty. Yeakula, the Report ranks medical services as the most prone to corruption, followed by Police services. Females were amongst the majority of people who identified medical services as the most prone to corruption.
The SCORE report detailed that out of the respondents who witnessed corruption, only 25 percent reported it and the rest said they didn’t report due to various reasons, ranging from retaliation, fear of losing jobs, amongst others.
The research work also identified that public resources that are channeled through the national budget end up in the pockets of public officials through direct payments, indirect payments, or backdoor deals.
It further reveals that offices of top government officials remain heavily supported whilst institutions at the forefront of the fight against corruption are poorly funded.
It indicates that bribery and extortion often play a role in obtaining favorable court decisions, stating that judges reportedly extort or receive bribes before releasing criminal defendants without bail.
The Report recommends, among other things, that the Government of Liberia should ensure accountability for abuses of power; build people’s trust and ensure participation; safeguard independence and effectiveness of integrity institutions; prevent favoritism in service delivery and public contracting.
It recommends protection for those reporting corruption; increases transparency around public spending; strengthens the judiciary; improves legislative oversight and accountability; improves participation, inclusion, and coordination.
Giving an overview of the project, executive director Anderson Miamen said CENTAL is a civil society organization, and a national chapter of Transparency International, a global coalition against corruption with networks, and chapters in over 120 countries.
He narrates that last year, CENTAL signed a partnership with the Government of Sweden through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency to implement a program titled National Integrity Building, and Anti-corruption, a two and a half year program that covers seven counties, including Montserrado, Nimba, Bong, Grand Bassa, Rivercess, Bomi, and Gbarpolu, respectively.
In remarks, the Ambassador of Sweden in Liberia, Urban Sjöström commended the Government of Liberia for the political will in establishing integrity institutions and welcomed further investment and support to these independent institutions. Amb. Sjöström lauded CENTAL for the State of Corruption Report and welcomed further dialogue with all stakeholders regarding the findings and recommendations in the Report.
Performing the official launch, CENTAL Board Chair and Dean of the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law at the University of Liberia, Cllr. T. Negbalee Warner said the Report was done in line with international standards, like the United States Department, Transparency International Corruption Perception Index, and other Reports usually released by International Organizations and governments.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/cental-ends-i-club-university-students-integrity-development-forum/ Editing by Jonathan Browne