“Despite the challenges in moving the fight against corruption forward, for me, and for this administration, there will be no turning back; we must continue to fight not for ourselves, but for our children and grandchildren. And we must continue to fight not for personal gains, but for the collective benefits of our society,” were the words of Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf on Wednesday, March 26, 2014, during the commissioning of four government officials of integrity institutions in Liberia.
t the crust of her challenge to the officials, she again vowed not to turn back on the fight as the fight was for the future of Liberia and its children, stressing that while her administration sees prevention as important, it equally recognizes punishment as a powerful exemplar and a compelling deterrent as demonstrated by the several measures put into place by her administration, including a robust prosecutorial team at the Ministry of Justice, the passage of a new jury law, as well as the actions of the Public Accounts Committees of the Legislature as convincing evidence of Government’s commitment to fighting corruption.
“Today, we can say with increasing confidence that if we find you to be corrupt, you will definitely answer to the law- this is real progress.” The Liberian President reminded Auditor General Yusador S. Gaye of the General Auditing Commission, Chairman Gladys S. Johnson of the Independent National Human Rights Commission, Chairman Jerome N. Verdier of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission and Deputy Auditor General Foday Kiazolu that the fight against corruption remains unabated, admonishing them to keep up the fight through the laws and fight corruption without “fear or favor”.
Her admonition to the four officials was to expose the perpetrators and prosecute them in accordance with the laws of Liberia. While the President is hopeful that the newly commissioned officials will help erase said public perception by their actions in the integrity fight, it is equality important for the respective capacities to be improved through budgetary increase.
Negative public perception will only diminish if and only if when these institutions are allowed to function without interferences and in consonance with the laws establishing them. With the renewed vigour injected into the new leaderships of the four institutions by President Sirleaf, let’s also hope and pray that this time, they shall succeed in accordance with their mandates. And from where their predecessors stopped, they must now proceed. Given all of the internationally accepted standards, the challenge now is theirs to make the difference in the eyes of the Liberian public to whom they answerable. President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has already recommitted herself to the fight against corruption, but in line with the laws; and so, The Challenge Is Now Thiers.