As Liberians clamor for government to speed up delivery of the promised stimulus package, the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) has raised serious concerns over transparency and accountability issues with regards to COVID-19 resource allocation and utilization, in order to bring relief to the citizenry.
In a letter to Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel Tweah dated April 20, 2020, LACC Executive Chairman Cllr. Ndubuisi Nwabudike used the occasion to remind the Coronavirus Taskforce and all actors to uphold accountability and transparency in all relevant transactions.
“I present compliments on behalf of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) and wish to express the Commission’s concern about the national health crisis as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic that has affected more than ninety persons in Liberia and resulted to seven deaths. The reeling effects of the disease have caused an unprecedented national emergency for which His Excellency President George Manneh Weah has declared a State of Emergency, involving a wide ranging resource outlay to benefit the welfare and immediate needs of our people,” Cllr Nwabudike enjoined Finance Minister Tweah.
Expounding further, the LACC boss said national emergencies are fertile breeding ground for corruption due to the vital need to act swiftly, often at the detriment of due diligence. “Hence, accountability and transparency in the expenditure of resources during this period, are critical,” Cllr. Nwabudike noted.
The LACC further said, while it remained cognizant of the establishment by the Government of COVID-19 Emergency Response project aimed at mitigating and containing the transmission of COVID-19 with funding from the Government and support of donor community, “because of the recent and past experiences of allegations of corruption; the perceived lack of transparency relating to resources intended for the citizens of Liberia including the Ebola funds, the $25 million mop-up exercise,” it wishes to respectfully remind the Taskforce and all actors including security institutions to firmly uphold government’s commitment to accountability, transparency and anti-corruption mechanism during the emergency period.
“In particular, disbursement of funds and procurement of material should follow and adhere to all existing regulations, policies and laws. LACC encourages actors to seek approval as enshrined in laws for disbursement of funds and procurement during this emergency period,” the LACC boss stated, while calling on the PPCC and the IAA to support the Taskforce to accelerate the acquisition of logistics.