“High Corruption Level in 2023” CENTAL ‘State of Corruption’ Report Reveals

By: Laymah Kollie

Monrovia -December 14,2023-: The Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL) latest corruption report has revealed an increase in corruption for the year 2023.
CENTAL report shows that nine out of ten citizens in Liberia thinks corruption is a high scale.

Although local and international actors are continuing to step up efforts against corruption, the report found the lack of prosecution of several individuals accused of corruption and other crimes remains the chief reason for the high level of corruption.

The State of Corruption Report (SCORE) is an activity of the National Integrity Building and Anti-Corruption Program (NIBA) supported by the government and people of Sweden through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).
It has reflects people’s views and experiences of corruption in Liberia and gauged public reactions about the fight against corruption. SCORE is a product of mixed methods including desk review, survey, key informant interviews, and media monitoring and fieldwork conducted between May and August with a survey of 728 people in nine counties including Grand Cape Mount, Margibi, Montserrado, Nimba, Bong, Grand Bassa, Rivercess, Gbarpolu, and Bomi.

Media monitoring and tracking exercises were also carried out between October 2022 and August 2023 to document incidences of corruption. To better understand trends of public perceptions and experiences, the results of SCORE 2023 are presented against the results of the previous reports.

Presenting the report at Boulevard Palace on Wednesday December 13,2023, Mr. Gerald D Yeakula Sr. Program Manager at CENTAL said the high level of corruption was based on public believe about lack of prosecution by government and other major factors led to increase in corruption this year.
“For reasons including the lack of prosecution and adherence to the culture of transparency and accountability in Liberia, 90 percent of respondents interviewed for the 3rd edition of the State of Corruption Report (SCORE), produced by the Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL) hold the view that the level of corruption in the country is high. Nine out of ten citizens have held this view for the third year running. Just one percent thinking otherwise”

The report clearly state that 67 percent of people surveyed hold the view that government’s commitment to fighting corruption is low.
It also looks at questionable budgetary allocations for benefits of public officials.

“Meanwhile, 67 percent of those surveyed hold the view that government’s commitment to fighting corruption is low. This represents a 5 percent increase in the number of respondents rating government’s commitment as low in the previous report.
The report also found that public resources continue to be channeled through questionable budgetary allocations for the benefit of public officials. For instance, while the budget line on legislative engagement and accessibility has been removed, a whopping US$10,406,380.00 was allocated for legislative committee hearings”
Regarding the Judiciary, the report found that Judges are occasionally subject to pressure from the executive, legislature, and traditional societies. Also, the report states that the jury system is sometimes subject to manipulation.
This revelation places more responsibility on the government of Liberia to adequately fund anti-graft institutions like the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) to deliver on its mandate of tackling the scourge of corruption.
However, launching the report, Mr. Jeffery Yates , Head of Secretariat of LEITI and Chairperson of the Steering Committee on National Integrity Forum call for the public and government to take the report seriously.
He believes, these reports confirm international organizations sanctions on public officials as such, these the law should be implemented.
“As we launch this program is a cause for us to take this report serious. Individuals have been sanctioned and when I see this I feel like these reports confirm what international institutions are saying. With the opportunity granted me I do hereby formally Launch this report”

Furthermore , speaking at the occasion Madam Nikolina Stalhand, program Officer- Democracy and Human Rights at the Swedish Embassy in Monrovia said the battle to eradicate corruption can gradually be done by raising awareness and empowering citizens to demand and act against corruption.

The International Partner also emphasized the importance of political will to executing these functions. She then reaffirm her institution’s commitment to supporting the word of CENTAL and others.

“And this needs to happen at all levels. Both by raising awareness and empowering citizens to demand for and act against corruption, but also by supporting integrity institutions to fulfilling their mandate and by providing a space for dialogue between citizens, officials and other stakeholders to ensure accountability is upheld.
And on the journey towards improved transparency and accountability, Sweden is a committed partner and hope that the launch here today will shed lights on some of the ways forward”

Also, Mr. Mohamed B. Korteh , Deputy Director General for Administration of the Internal Audit Agency lauded CENTAL for work done and at the same time stressed the financial dependency of his institution.
“We Commend Cental for level of work done to ensure transparency and Accountability in Liberia. As I speak I want to say that my entity has not maintain financial independence”

At the same time, Madam Malay Taylor Wennah of the Youth Crime Watch of Liberia stated the need for CSOs to collaborate and be more innovative in fighting corruption.
“We Can do that by lot of innovative ways and we Can just join the fight”

Meanwhile, Mr. Ernest Hughes, Vice Executive Chairperson of Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission ( LACC) cautioned the need for more work to be done in fighting corruption.
“There is alot of work we have to do”

Center for Transparency and Accountability is an civil society institution working in to eradicate corruption.

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