MONROVIA – A Liberian Youth Anti-corruption Activist, A. Macclean Renner, has joined calls for the audit of the 54th National Legislature, says the General Auditing Commission (GAC) should act on its mandate to audit the Legislature to account for its expenditures for the period covering 2018 to present as provided for under the Liberian Constitution; reports The Analyst’s Matthew Turry.
In a statement presented to GAC in Monrovia on Thursday, September 1, 2022, Mr. Renner, who has already presented his position calling for audit of the Legislature to the integrity institution, said the Liberian Constitution has provided for auditing of all public institutions including the National Legislature to account for money they spent from the national coffers.
The call by Mr. Renner is one which was supported earlier by the Liberia Council of Churches through its former President Bishop Kortu K. Brown in May of 2021 when he called on the GAC to conduct a forensic audit in a bid to combat fraud, waste and abuse in the first branch of government.
The call is in view of the fact that the members of the National Legislature, in keeping with the body’s mandate of oversight, have been checkmating officials of the Executive Branch of Government, especially those from the anti-graft institutions, a reason that makes it an imperative for the Legislature to also be audited.
Saying he who seeks equity and justice must come with clean hands, Renner said it is high time that they submit themselves to audit if it should be for the lawmakers to be presumed truthful and transparent in the discharge of their oversight and law making responsibilities.
According to him, the issue of corruption in public sector is not limited to the officials of the Executive Branch and its different departments, agencies, bureau, etc alone, he alleged that the vice is also common in the Legislature, inclusive of which are the passage of bad laws that do not consider the interest of the people.
For the reason he stated, Renner’s major concern is the use of public money without accountability as in the case of the US$30,000.00 dished out to lawmakers through the budget in the name of “Legislative Engagement and Public Accessibility” without accountability.
“You are aware that as required by the Public Financial Management Act of 2009, every cent of public money is subject to accountability, and the GAC is mandated to ensure that this is implemented to the fullest. Therefore I call on the GAC and any other authority responsible to bring this mandate of accountability to reality to forthwith begin to conduct a forensic audit of the entire Legislature so as to ensure that the fight against corruption is not treated with mere lip service,” the activist maintained.
Being Specific on the audit of Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon, Renner thinks that to audit Dillon comes with a huge public trust and respect for the senator to enjoy such trust; and as such he must without delay bring out his books of expenditure for public scrutiny.
“Senator Abraham Darius Dillon must find great pleasure in this call for his office and its financial dealings to be scrutinized by the public because he presents himself to be the saint amongst the condemned”, Mr. Renner said. He however indicated that he intends not to be partial in his advocacy, but that his call for transparency and accountability in all public dealings is geared towards tackling fraud, waste and abuse.
“My advocacy knows no friend and has no enemy. Its key interest is the general good whereby scarce public resources will be so carefully used for the public good and towards the direction of providing social services including public schools, health, etc.,” he maintained.
It can be recalled that the activist had begun his activism when he called for the audit of the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) under the current Leadership of Jefferson Tamba Koijee. He believes that Liberian institutions that use the people’s money should be accountable to the people within the spirit of the Liberian Constitution which by every measure called for public accountability.
With the GAC commencing the audit of the MCC, Renner said, “I look forward to achieving results of action being taken by the relevant authorities at the GAC and others, consistent with the GAC’s constitutional mandate.”
While the MCC is being audited, Mr. Renner said he is elevating the pace of this call by urging the GAC to audit the 54th National Legislature, being specific in pointing out the office of Senator Abraham Darius Dillon. He said he was pointing out Senator Dillon on the merit of his election promise that a portion of his salary will go towards the public good of the people of Montserrado County when he presented himself as “The light” in the Legislature.
Addressing members of the press yesterday, he said he called members of the fourth estate to revive his unbending fight against corruption across the space of public offices.
“And as you are aware that I have been calling for an audit of the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) by GAC under its current Mayorship of Jefferson Tambah Koijee for which I have been beaten, threatened with death and my personal belongings taken from me while I wasted blood in the public glare with no help from the law [enforcement officers] to my disposal, I am highly hopeful that as required by the law establishing the GAC, it has commenced an audit of the MCC,” he continued.
He asserted that the public will be notified of findings of said audit soon, using the function to also thank the United States Government for its recent stance against the rampant and shameless acts of corruption in Liberia when it designated and sanctioned three members of the inner circle of President George Weah.
Concerning the sanction, the young activist said he looks forward to President Weah to be more proactive in addressing the concerns raised by the United States Department of Treasury and not to handle it with a smoke screen action.
He welcomed and applauded the President for the suspension from office of the affected officials including the President’s Chief of Office Staff and Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Nathaniel F. McGill, Solicitor General Saymah Serenius Cephus and the Managing Director of the National Port Authority, Bill Twehway, but requests the president to move a step further with their investigation by an independent investigative body and subsequent prosecution of all with the full involvement of the government of the United States of America.
Meanwhile, the director of communication at the GAC, Mr. D. Edwin Clarke said the institution has received the statement and will be delivered to his boss, who is presently out of the country.