PROPHETS OF DOOM and haters of Liberia might just be proven correct when citizens’ reactions to the release of reports on the alleged missing L$16b slip maturity, understanding and patriotism. There are those who contend that the nation has reached yet another breaking point because L$16 billion dollar or over US$100 million is just too much to be left in thin air. It would be excruciating for such a grave matter to be shoved under the carpet. And certainly there are some Liberians who think the nation shall never see peace again unless the matter was logically concluded. While that may be true, it is also true that Liberia—the generation now or the one to come—does not end with L$16 billion. We are together worth more than it and therefore don’t need Armageddon upon Liberia to close the missing money chapter.
TODAY, OR ANYTIME soon, the Presidential Task Force set up by President George Manneh will release its findings of its investigation on the alleged missing money to the public. Perhaps on the same day or thereabout, the findings of the audit on the same matter will be released by the firm contracted by the United States Government to conduct the investigation. Like any investigative report, there will be culprits, people who might have taken responsibility or should be held responsible for any wrongdoing in the alleged disappearance of the money. The findings of the investigations of any of the reports could also be that there were no clear culprits, or that the acts committed are not sufficient to hold anyone for criminal and administrative punishment.
WHATEVER THE FINDINGS—and we can understand the anxieties amongst Liberians about these reports—Liberians must hold their peace and act patriotically and maturely because except that is done, the nation is doom. Already, there are people making bellicose utterances as to what they would do or others must do if the findings of the reports don’t come out according to their expectations. Some have made their own conclusions, conceived their own indictments for perceived culprits. It is like some people want to take human heads over this missing money saga and they cannot settle for anything other than what they want. Demonstrations and counter-demonstrations are being planned; perceptions and counter-perceptions are held; plots and counter-plots are plotted. Seemingly, the whole nation is in turmoil—for L$16 billion. Critics, cynics and detractors of government have got a huge political chip to blow up things for the political advantage of it; and government and its apologists are rallying the cards to settle scores—all this for and under the guise of unraveling the L$16 billion misery.
IT WAS AN imperative that investigations were ordered and done. By the order of the investigations, the acrimonies and speculations about the complicity of one person or a group of persons were settled. It was an imperative the reports of investigations were concluded and their findings readied for release. That also settled the qualms that many contentious issues were unsettled in the past as a result of unconcluded investigations. And it is an imperative that the findings be made public, and public they are going to be made today and tomorrow. It will also be an imperative that once the findings are out, the chips must fall where they must. The onus rests on the President and his government to take the bold stand, and timely, to make the chips fall to their appropriate places.
WHAT IS NOT an imperative is shooting Liberia down simply because the reports and how their findings are handled don’t meet the expectations and desires of some citizens or group of citizens. We all must respect the quality and perspectives of the reports as done by the Presidential Investigative Team and the USAID-hired team. And we must allow the Government, particularly the President, to handle the report as deemed fit by the law. All Liberians could not be hired to do the investigation. And all Liberians, assuming they were presidents at different times, would not handle the reports the same way.
EVEN THE FINDINGS of the Liberia Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which came out following years of investigation of horrors, mayhem and carnage that left quarter of a million people dead, are still under discussion. If Liberians could not shoot the country dead for reports on untold, dastardly killings and destruction in Liberia, they cannot afford and should not tear this country apart for L$16 billion.
TO BE ABLE to continue to discuss the reports and their findings and to be able to punish or vindicate culprits, the nation needs peace, stability and order. We therefore want Liberians conduct themselves maturely and patriotically as the reports are being delivered and released.