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Weah blamed for Census ‘mess’ 

By Lewis S. Teh

A pro-accountability group is holding President George Manneh Weah responsible for the alleged mess created in the conduct of the 2022 National Population and Housing Census.

The Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL) believes President Weah’s alleged failure to prosecute corrupt officials has resulted in the ‘census mess.’

CENTAL Executive Director Mr. Anderson Miamen told journalists Wednesday, 16 November 2022 that President Weah is dragging his feet in taking drastic actions against officials indicted by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC).

This week President Weah dismissed two senior officials of the Liberia Institute for Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS).

Their dismissals came in the wake of ongoing challenges facing the census process which is widely criticized by the public.

“I think the failure [of] President Weah is dragging his feet in terms of taking drastic actions against officials that are indicted by the Liberia Anti Corruption Commission. [It’s] the result of the mess that is currently taking place at LISGIS,” said Miamen

According to Miamen, LISGIS presides over statistical processes in Liberia which means that, at all times, its officials should exercise extreme caution in performing their duties to continuously enjoy the confidence of the public and partners.

 Additionally, he said multiple acts of corruption and financial malpractices reported by the media and even highly placed individuals within LISGIS have not been treated with the required urgency by the President of Liberia, the Board of Directors, and the Legislature.

“And we think this is extremely sad,” said Mr. Miamen. He recalled that in March 2022, the Liberian media reported financial malpractices involving the top management and other executives of LISGIS.

Miamen said that included but was not limited to the Director General, Mr. Francis Wreh, Deputy Director General for Administration, Mr. Lawrence George, Deputy Director General for Information and Coordination, Mr. Wilmot Smith, and Comptroller, Mr. Dominic Paye.

 He narrated that following month of thorough investigation, in June 2022, the LACC forwarded a comprehensive report to the Government of Liberia.

He said the report was forwarded through the Ministry of Justice for the indictment and prosecution of those concerned.

Since then, Miamen lamented, the Board of LISGIS, the Ministry of Justice, and the Liberian Presidency have not acted on the report.

Instead, he said the investigated officials were allowed to continue presiding over LISGIS and activities and processes related to the long-awaited census.

“Not only that, individuals closely connected to some members of the Board of LISGIS’ are reported to have received huge payments for so-called consulting and other services provided to the institution,” he said. 

Miamen believes that this has led the public to believe that the current Board of Directors is complicit in the unfortunate developments at LISGIS.

He noted that they have not shown strong leadership in decisively dealing with these matters.

 “The failure to take concrete actions is the result of what the world witnessed on Friday, November 11, 2022, when President George Weah declared a National Holiday for Liberians to stay home and be counted, despite LISGIS not being prepared to begin the counting process,” said Miamen.

 Meanwhile, Mr. Miamen welcomed the decision of President Weah to dismiss Mr. Wilmot Smith, one of the individuals primarily responsible for the mess created at LISGS.

He argued that had the President listened to earlier recommendations from citizens, civil society, and other stakeholders for dismissal and prosecution of those accused and investigated for multiple acts of corruption, the problems at the institution would not have degenerated to the current level.

“While we welcome the President’s dismissal decision, we strongly believe that the action is limited in scope,” said Miamen.

“We think President Weah’s actions should be broadened to include all those who have been at the center of alleged and confirmed incidences of corruption and incompetence at the institution, including the Director General, Comptroller, and other officials,” Miamen noted.

NewDawn

The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).

One Comment

  1. Every Joseph is not the same as the son of David. Mine is not the same as yours. If you should want to run for the position of the President of Liberia again, each candidate may exclude mentioning the faults in absence or while present in the nation of any opponent. This has an adverse effect on canvass intent. If you are aware of the present situation in Liberia as that grave, then why did you not mention all these circumstances to be relegated in the past, when you served the Liberian people, if you did or did not serve, who the same did vote or not vote for you independently or as a party?
    The President of Liberia has a dual personality, as commander in chief of AFL and as head of the civil Executive. If you feel that your reason for running is a non-functional President, tell the people. You do not tell the Executive branch. The constitution has provisions and privileges extended to each branch of government. Those who seek election positions should refrain from encroaching on the Liberian people freedom of choice by using the constitutionality of deferment as was done in history. The people now in Liberia learned that it only invokes concupiscence, riots, protests etc… and non-related items that got nothing to do the 2023 election.

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