Wednesday, May 26, 2010

‘ONLY JESUS CAN SAVE’ THEM: Auditor General of Liberia Morlu Faces Lawmakers’ Grilling; Slams Auditees

‘ONLY JESUS CAN SAVE’ THEM: A.G. Morlu Faces Lawmakers’ Grilling; Slams Auditees


05/26/2010

Monrovia –

Source: http://www.frontpageafrica.com/newsmanager/anmviewer.asp?a=10942&z=3

Auditor General John Morlu has made his second public appearance before the National Legislature since 2007 informing the lawmakers that the General Auditing commission (GAC) has released more than 30 audit reports to the custody of the National Assembly.

Morlu in his two-hour briefing to the Senate Committee on Public Accounts and Expenditure, said only Jesus Christ can safe an individual who has been challenged to account in his audit report because according to him, the facts and evidence contained in the report are strong and convincing.

“If you read the audit reports, you remember I told you I do things by the law, because you Pass the law, one of the lines in the law is that I as an Auditor General should identify those who engaged in fraud, identify those involve in negligence, identify those who have defaulted in collecting revenues, as AG I must also recommend a system set-up because the Auditor General cannot set up system, you must recommend system setup.”

Power comes with accountability, I am the Auditor General, I believe in the appropriateness and sufficiency of evidence, if I say senator Nyenabo did this! only Jesus Christ can come out to free you,” AG Morlu maintained as he answer a question from Senator Isaac Nyenabo.

The country’s Auditor General told the senate committee that they read the audit reports with clarity, specifically, the aspect on the accountability sheet of the audit report that holds individual accountable in the expenditure of government resources.

The Auditor General assured the lawmakers that the more than 31 audit reports that have been released by the commission, can stand both administratively and judicially, because according to him, evidence contained in the reports are clear and decisive.

“I have submitted to the Legislature 31 audit reports, 12 of which are forensic audit reports (strictly financial crimes investigation. Our audits are done under international conventions , the first thing I do under chapter 53.3 of the new executive law, the Auditor General is required to adopt auditing standards in Liberia, so the first thing I did was to adopt the INTOSAI standard, which is the international organization of supreme Audit institutions. So everything we do is consistent with international standards,”Morlu told the Accounts committee.

Answering questions from senate president Pro tempore Cletus Wortorson on the release of audit reports to the public, Auditor General Morlu said there is no law in the country on what is classified or declassified information that cannot be released to the public.

He said the police also could not give information on what is sensitive information that cannot be release to the public, the decision on what to go in public is purely at the discretion of the Auditor General.

“That’s a very brilliant question; let us stick to the facts. Under the HIPC agreement, signed by Liberia, the Auditor General must release reports in a timely manner. The Auditor General must release reports timely and follow-up on implementation, so if I even follow the international agreement they have, I will be beating at their doors everyday, but I don’t want to be an activist Auditor General.

With respect to confidentiality, what is confidentiality is determined by you, when I came to this country, I spoke to Dr. Fahnbulleh and the president, if you want something to be confidential, then you must go the legislature and have a classification system, classified and Declassified system, but even the police don’t even have it, and the auditing standards says in the absence of a law prohibiting the disclosure or timely disclosure of public information the Auditor General should look at the greater public interest and that is in the INTOSAI standard and I can’t compromise the public’s rights to know,” the country’s tough talking Auditor General told the committee.

Separate Political appointees from Civil Servants

Also following persistent request from the senators for the Auditor General to provide some remedy to the current system breakdown in the country, AG Morlu told the body, the first step in helping to curb the system failure in the country was for political appointees to remove themselves from the simple work of the common civil servant.

Morlu warned that the government will not go anywhere, unless government ministers stop signing cheques and processing vouchers and also distributing gas coupons among lower level employees.

“The first thing is that you protect the integrity of the Minister’s office first, that is the best way the institution can be managed effectively, then you have a good internal audit system, there must also be payroll reconciliation with various government institutions, meaning the government employees must also be given employment letters because in some government areas, employees don’t really have letters of employment. But if I am a minister signing cheques, during procurements and also distributing gas slips among employees of the ministry, anybody can attack me because sometimes I forget what I have done.

Senator Nyenabo? You think anybody can ever come to audit me and say anything, I will fight you, because how can’t I be sure that I have not done something wrong, so automatically I am afraid as a minister,”Morlu continued his two hour long presentation before the Committee on Public Accounts of the Senate.

There are multiple audit reports, that point to the fact that senior level political appointees usurping the functions of the civil servants by engaging in the purchase of something as low as stationery.

The Auditor General according to reports was invited to speak to the work of the General Auditing Commission and the HIPC audits conducted recently, but lawmakers failed to ask specific questions on the HIPC audit, but instead characterized the entire discussion with political issues.

Some audit reports specifically those on the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation, indicted the Senior Senator of Grand Bassa County Gbehzohngar Findley of crediting huge sums of money from the corporation and failing to pay.

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Everyone is a genius

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. – A Einstein

Drawing the line in Liberia

Crimes sponsored, committed, or masterminded by handful of individuals cannot be blamed upon an entire nationality. In this case, Liberians! The need for post-war justice is a step toward lasting peace, stability and prosperity for Liberia. Liberia needs a war crimes tribunal or some credible legal forum that is capable of dealing with atrocities perpetrated against defenseless men, women and children during the country's brutal war. Without justice, peace shall remain elusive and investment in Liberia will not produce the intended results. - Bernard Gbayee Goah



Men with unhealthy characters should not champion any noble cause

They pretend to advocate the cause of the people when their deeds in the dark mirror nothing else but EVIL!!
When evil and corrupt men try to champion a cause that is so noble … such cause, how noble it may be, becomes meaningless in the eyes of the people - Bernard Gbayee Goah.

If Liberia must move forward ...

If Liberia must move forward in order to claim its place as a civilized nation amongst world community of nations, come 2017 elections, Liberians must critically review the events of the past with honesty and objectivity. They must make a new commitment to seek lasting solutions. The track records of those who are presenting themselves as candidates for the position of "President of the Republic of Liberia" must be well examined. Liberians must be fair to themselves because results from the 2011 elections will determine the future of Liberia’s unborn generations to come - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's greatest problem!

While it is true that an individual may be held responsible for corruption and mismanagement of funds in government, the lack of proper system to work with may as well impede the process of ethical, managerial, and financial accountability - Bernard Gbayee Goah

What do I think should be done?

The situation in Liberia is Compound Complex and cannot be fixed unless the entire system of government is reinvented.
Liberia needs a workable but uncompromising system that will make the country an asylum free from abuse, and other forms of corruption.
Any attempt to institute the system mentioned above in the absence of rule of law is meaningless, and more detrimental to Liberia as a whole - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's Natural Resources
Besides land water and few other resources, most of Liberia’s dependable natural resources are not infinite, they are finite and therefore can be depleted.
Liberia’s gold, diamond, and other natural resources will not always be an available source of revenue generation for its people and its government. The need to invent a system in government that focuses on an alternative income generation method cannot be over emphasized at this point - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia needs a proper system
If Liberians refuse to erect a proper system in place that promotes the minimization of corruption and mismanagement of public funds by government institutions, and individuals, there will come a time when the value of the entire country will be seen as a large valueless land suited on the west coast of Africa with some polluted bodies of waters and nothing else. To have no system in place in any country is to have no respect for rule of law. To have no respect for rule of law is to believe in lawlessness. And where there is lawlessness, there is always corruption - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Solving problems in the absence of war talks

As political instability continues to increase in Africa, it has become abundantly clear that military intervention as a primary remedy to peace is not a durable solution. Such intervention only increases insecurity and massive economic hardship. An existing example which could be a valuable lesson for Liberia is Great Britain, and the US war on terror for the purpose of global security. The use of arms whether in peace keeping, occupation, or invasion as a primary means of solving problem has yield only little results. Military intervention by any country as the only solution to problem solving will result into massive military spending, economic hardship, more fear, and animosity as well as increase insecurity. The alternative is learning how to solve problems in the absence of war talks. The objective of such alternative must be to provide real sustainable human security which cannot be achieved through military arm intervention, or aggression. In order to achieve results that will make the peaceful coexistence of all mankind possible, there must be a common ground for the stories of all sides to be heard. I believe there are always three sides to every story: Their side of the story, Our side of the story, and The truthBernard Gbayee Goah

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