Bility Senses Conspiracy Against Transparency -Says GAC, Legislature in ‘Quid Pro Quo’ Relationship -But Report States House Of Reps Audit Underway

MONROVIA: The “war” on graft and corruption towards transparency and accountability continues to rage despite sugar-coated rhetoric and slogans by successive political administrations to professedly do something radical about it. Even the second epoch of the Unity Party administration, an administration which during its previous 12-year rule declared ‘corruption public enemy number one’, is still grappling with the “enemy”. Everyone appears to say that much is needed to be done in the fight against the pandemic. For Nimba County lawmaker Hassan Musa Bility, the fight against corruption must start with the audit of the Legislature and the General Auditing Commission (GAC), the two institutions specifically mandated by the Constitution to effectuate accountability, arguing in a social media post that, unfortunately, these two key institutions are yet to lend themselves to the maxim, “he who comes with equity must come with clean hands”; meaning they are yet to be audited in decades. Though Representative Bility is suggesting that there is a conspiracy by the two institutions to avoid mutual audit, The Analyst is privy to reports that the House of Representatives, upon its own request, is slated to be audited very soon.

Contemporary public officials are making use of their social media pages, perhaps as the most effective way of easily and effectively reaching out to ordinary Liberians mainly their respective constituents. One current social media savvy lawmaker whose pages are rife with prevailing public discourses is Nimba County Representative Hasanah Musa Bility.

In his latest Facebook post, which the Analyst bumped into yesterday, Representative Bility drew attention to one of Liberia’s intractable social nemeses, corruption. In the view of the Nimba County lawmaker, the fight against graft and corruption in Liberia would go nowhere except those institutions of the state having fiduciary responsibility do lead by example. He singled out the General Auditing Commission and the National Legislature of which he is a prominent member.

“Indeed, those who have been entrusted with the authorities to govern have conspired against those who entrusted them with those authorities,” he said at the onset of his post, and continued: “We will never see a true fight against corruption until those who are charged with this responsibility can show that they are ready to do so.”

To show readiness to fight corruption, Bility said these institutions must demonstrate their commitments by making their respective institutions transparent.

“To do this,” he added, “they must be willing to clean their houses first and foremost. The legislature and the GAC are the only two institutions that can fight corruption and impunity in our country. But sadly, both institutions have conspired against the people.”

Without further beating around the bush, he noted: “The Legislature is, by law, the only institution that can authorize the audit of the GAC. It has not done so since the GAC was created.

“In return, the GAC, being the body authorized by laws to audit ALL government institutions or agencies, has never attempted to audit the legislature.”

“What a quid pro quo!” he exclaimed.  “And we are sitting around fooling ourselves that the government is ready to fight corruption.”

GAC Engagement Letter

Meanwhile, The Analyst has gathered that the GAC is now on it way to begin auditing the National Legislature which, in the words of Representative Bility, “has never attempted to audit the Legislature”.

In a March 27, 2024 Audit Engagement communication addressed to the Speaker of the House of Representatives by Auditor General R. Garswa Jackson, Sir, the GAC is poised to commence what it called System Review on the Financial Management System and Processes of the House.

According to the GAC, areas the audit will cover include administration, including personnel management, maintenance and payroll; financial management including accounting policy, budgeting, financial accounting and reporting; procurement policy; liability management; receivable management; internal control system, including internal audit; asset management, including effective and reliable asset register system, amongst others.

The objectives of the audit, the GAC further stated in the communication is to provide the intended user of the audit report with information on whether the financial management system and processes of the House are adequately designed and consistent with legislative decisions, laws, legislative acts, policies, established codes and agreed upon terms.

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