CENTAL Extols President Boakai’s Attempt to Make the Ombudsman Functional -Calls for Proper Structuring of the Office

Monrovia, Thursday, April 11,2024: The Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia has applauded President Boakai for nomination of an ombudsman in the country. CENTAL believes the president’s decision is helping in increase the fight for justice and accountability in Liberia.

On Friday, April 5, 2024, President Joseph N. Boakai nominated Cllr. Findley Karngar as Chairperson of the Office of Ombudsman of the Republic of Liberia.
President Boakai’s nomination was in consonance with Part XII of the Code of Conduct approved on March 31, 2014, which established the Office of Ombudsman as an independent autonomous body with responsibility to enforce, oversee, monitor and evaluate adherence to the Code of Conduct. 
It can be recalled that, in previous statements, CENTAL encouraged President Boakai to appoint the ombudsperson as said office is critical to ensuring compliance with the Code of Conduct, which sets out standards of behavior and conducts required of public officials and employees.

“Considering the failure of past administrations to ensure the Office of Ombudsman is functional despite, flagrant abuses of the Code of Conduct, CENTAL believes that the step by President Boakai, if followed to proper fruition, would represent a capstone in the country’s anticorruption endeavors” Mr. Anderson Maimen, Executive Director for CENTAL

Stressing, “we have read with keen interest reports in some local dailies alleging that the newly nominated Chairperson of the Ombudsman, Cllr. Findley Karnga, holds loyalty to the Unity Party Alliance, which brought President Boakai to the presidency.

Whilst we cannot independently verify the veracity of the allegations, we would like to register that allegations of such levied against an individual designated to occupy a role as critical as ombudsperson is concerning”

The anti-corruption institution however urged President Boakai to consider competitive recruitment processes in future employment of individuals to critical roles, including institutions clothed with the authority to promote integrity and the fight against corruption.

According to the CENTAL boss, transparency recruitment minimizes the likelihood that persons with questionable independence, competence, and credibility surface in public offices.

“We must note that open and competitive vetting processes with participation of civil society, government and other relevant stakeholders has now become the standard for recruitment to integrity institutions, even where the law does not explicitly require.  If anything, it adds more value to such recruitment process and gives the public confidence in those preferred to occupy such strategic position (s)”
CENTAL therefore recommended the following:
i) That the Executive and Legislative branches of government work to ensure that, building upon the Code of Conduct, a legislation is passed clearly carving out the structure of the Office of the Ombudsman, qualifications and recruitment procedures, as well as providing for tenure, financial autonomy, and gender representation. We must note that the Code of Conduct is scanty in respect of the composition of the Ombudsman and other key elements described above.

CENTAL believes that appointments under the current law can only suffice as a stop gap measure until the Office of the Ombudsman is properly established, with all necessary insulation to truly equate it as an independent integrity institution.

ii) That the Office of the Ombudsman is adequately supported through the national budget, as there exists no such support in the draft 2024 national budget before the Legislature for review and passage into law. And

iii) That Cllr. Findely and his would-be team and co-workers lead by example in terms of fully complying with the Code of Conduct for Public Officials and other relevant laws and policies. Also, we admonish them to be independent, fair, efficient, and effective in carrying out their functions, as they serve in this very important capacity.

The organization then reaffirmed its commitment to work with diverse stakeholders and partners to meaningfully support national efforts to fight against corruption and promote and mainstream the culture of integrity and accountability in Liberia, across all sectors and institutions

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