In the wake of the government’s robust reaction to recent statement by the political leader of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), the party, which is one of Liberia’s foremost outstanding opposition institutions says the ANC stands by the view expressed by its Political Leader, Mr. Alexander B. Cummings, that corruption is not only continuing but worsening in Liberia because those who should be checking the stealing are the actual thieves.
A statement issues to counter the government’s reaction said it has come to the attention of the National Secretary General of the of the party that the Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) has issued a statement denying factual issues raised by our Standard Bearer, Mr. Cummings.
“But we at the ANC stand by the view expressed by our Political Leader that corruption is not only continuing but worsening in Liberia because those who should be checking the stealing are the actual thieves,” the statement said.
The ANC indicated that Mr. Cummings described the Government of Liberia as corrupt and backed up his assertions with a report from Transparency International, a well-recognized global civil society organization that listed Liberia amongst the five most corrupt countries in Africa, noting that the report also listed Liberia amongst the 10 poorest countries.
“Although the sitting President, George M. Weah won the 2017 elections on the promise to fight corruption, stealing in his administration continues to undermine the country’s development and limits the Government of Liberia’s ability to lift Liberians out of poverty,” the ANC said.
The ANC maintained that the “so-called response from MICAT merely tried unsuccessfully to justify and defend the culture of corruption that has overtaken this government and has kept our country mismanaged, and our people, poor.”
The ANC reaffirmed that it will continue to be impossible to fight corruption and carry on the ongoing war against corruption unless there are good examples from the very top of the political leadership of the country as well as serious commitments to upholding an accountable system of administering public affairs coupled with the needed political will to investigate, prosecute and punish friends and foes alike for corruption and looting in the public sector.
The ANC statement asserted “the painful reality is that corruption is keeping most of our people poor and enriching a small minority of government officials”. In the words of our leader, Alexander B. Cummings, “In Liberia today, a few are getting rich illegally while the majority of our people are getting poorer. This is unacceptable,” the ANC reacted.
“From the falsehood that MICAT put out, it is clear that the Government of Liberia is delusional about the state of affairs, is disconnected from the people who are feeling the result of their corrupt leadership, and that MICAT is irresponsibly trafficking in dishonesty at the expense of the Liberian taxpayers,” the ANC furthered.
The opposition party said although the GOL “claimed in its characteristically deceptive response to Mr. Cummings, and said the ANC leader was peddling ‘street talk,’ the KROLL Report backed by the US Government and key donor agencies showed gaps and flaws in the accountability processes around the printing of new Liberian banknotes.”
It can be recalled that President Weah has brushed to the side, the recommendations of the Independent Presidential Investigative Team (PIT) and the public plea of the General Auditing Commission (GAC) for an audit of the USD25Million Mop-up Exercise, especially when after an imposed “fact-finding” by the GAC it discovered flaws and discrepancies, the ANC continued.
The statement observed that the failure to commission the audit as recommended and requested presents the Weah Administration as desperate to hide its dirty deals, and has left the banking system without public and business confidence which it needs to work credibly.
“If the President and his administration have nothing to hide, and are serious about fighting corruption as President Weah promised the Liberian people that he would, the ANC is pleased to challenge the Government to forensically audit the Liberian people’s USD25 Million botched Mop-up Exercise. Even as MICAT pretends not to know, the Liberian people know that there is only one reason the Weah-led administration cannot commission said audit – it is corruptly complicit!,” the ANC exclaimed.
The party criticized the Weah-led administration which it noted, can collude to steal all it wants, and try to cover it up by refusing to audit, adding however, that a Cummings-led administration will scrupulously audit, prosecute and punish anyone involved in stealing from the Liberian people. And for this, there will be no sacred cows.
“Whether the Weah-led administration likes it or not, the Political Leader of the ANC, Mr. Alexander B. Cummings will continue to condemn the stealing in Government because it is keeping our people poor. We do not and will not try to convince the MICAT of the existence of the obvious, which has been aptly described as a “Den of Thieves”, the statement noted.
The ANC then expressed the belief that the officials working at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT), are doing what they are paid not to do which according to the party is ‘tell lies to the people,” but added that you can fool some people sometime, but you cannot fool all the people, all the time..