MONROVIA – The Liberian People’s Party (LPP) has taken exception to what it called claims of the President George Manneh Weah administration that has improved its fight against corruption which might trigger financial support from the Millennium Challenge Compact(MCC) and the World Bank, saying contrary to that, the President has been silent and encouraging his officials to indulge corrupt practices in the country.
In a press statement issued by the party and signed by its National Chairman J. Yanqui Zaza, the party made specific reference to statements made by the Minister of Finance and Development Planning Samuel D. Tweah, Jr who in the wake of the release of the MCC scorecard had told media institutions that corruption indicator appears to suggest that Liberia continues to make progress on anti-corruption reform.
“How can President Weah claim to be winning the war on corruption when he has failed to institute and enforce one of the most effective anti-corruption tools, punishment, the seventh of the ten effective tools listed by the World.
“Instead of punishing, (for example, naming and shaming) corrupt officials, President Weah is silent or is financing their campaigns for elected political offices, according to anonymous resources. His silence or indirect support of corrupt officials is, indirectly, encouraging others to steal. In addition, President Weah, himself, has failed to fulfill the moral requirement of integrity, which is to publish his assets, another form of punishment”, the statement said.
The statement noted that MCC might not list punishment as an important anti-corruption tool, or it might have used different measures. However, the party wondered whether the gains earn from President Weah’s fight on corruption “outweigh the consequences of its corrupt activities”
“Did President Weah provide documents to MCC to explain why his administration’s anti-corruption tools were ineffective in deterring, preventing and/or identifying corrupt officials before the US government sanctioned them?
“Did President Weah submit documents to MCC to explain why Liberia’s anti-corruption tools were ineffective in deterring and preventing the drug kingpins from bringing $100M worth of illegal substances?
“Did President Weah provide documents to MCC to explain why Liberia’s anti-corruption tools were ineffective in deterring and preventing criminals from bringing L$100M worth of counterfeit banknotes into the country?
“Did President Weah explain to MCC why his anti-corrupt measures did not discourage any of his lieutenants from corrupt activities?”, the party asked rhetorically.
The party then went on to list series of instances it believed are clear examples of corrupt acts being perpetuated by the government under President Weah. Among others, LPP said the Agriculture Minister Jeanie Cooper awarded contract to a company which she has beneficial ownership, that the Director-General, Mr. Francis Wreh and two of his deputies of the Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS), Francis Wreh, violated laws regarding the purchase of tablets for the census; and the Deputy Managing Director of Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC) for Administration, Moseray Momoh converted public funds to personal use, according to Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC).
LPP further said President Weah administration has failed to encourage concessionary companies to pay the mandatory funds such as which it listed as Bea Mountain to pay $5M to Grand Cape Mount, Bomi, and Gbarkpolu Counties, and that Mittal Steel should have paid $3M to Nimba, Bong, and Bassa Counties.
“Instead of the companies paying the $8M as stipulated within the Concessionary agreements, they paid $296,000, according to page # 80 of the 2020 Annual Report of Liberia Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (LEITI)”, the party said quoting annual reports of LEITI for 2019 and 2020
In conclusion LPP appealed to the President Weah administration to not only name and shame corrupt officials, but also to name and shame third parties involved in corruption such as publishing the identities and addresses of the parties. “The government also should encourage all organizations such as religious institutions and ordinary residents to end doing business with every party. Further, government should support family members who are willing to join the campaign to name and shame parties involved in undermining Liberia’s development”, the statement concluded.