Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sawyer, Gongloe Laud AG Morlu

Written by General Auditing Commission (GAC)

Source: Liberian Forum

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Republic of Liberia
General Auditing Commission (GAC)
Old Executive Mansion
Office of the Director of Communications

MONROVIA, LIBERIA, JULY 9, 2010: The chairperson of the Governance Commission (GC) Dr.Amos C. Sawyer has lauded the farsighted effort of the Auditor General John S. Morlu, II for carving the idea and vision for the establishment of the National Integrity Forum (NIF).

Speaking Thursday, July 8, 2010 at the launch of the Forum, Dr.Sawyer said the positive initiative taken by AG Morlu was in the right direction to garner consolidated effort from cross section of state and non-state actors in the fight against corruption.

The GC chairperson expounded further that the problems of integrity and corruption is an old-aged problem that can be fought and quashed will robust and combine forces of major stakeholders via intense oneness of advocacy and demonstrable and practical action.

“Without an effort to fight corruption you cannot build integrity,”Dr.Sawyer noted adding that corruption has the propensity to undermine peace and development and it takes the collective and joint effort of all to combat this menace.

Adding his voice of admiring comment to AG Morlu was Labor Minister Cllr.Tiawon S. Gongloe. He said AG Morlu continues to demonstrate his dogged commitment of fighting corruption for the Government as further attested by the AG developing such valuable idea like the Integrity Forum.

Cllr.Gongloe then indentified the problem of conflict of interest as major hurdle of Liberia’s growth and development.

He said it is not a right thing to have government officials owning businesses and using those businesses to defray the government and Liberians’ taxpayers of millions.

‘“This is a major problem that has existed for century and this must stop,Cllr.Gongloe averred.

Most of the over 600 GAC audit findings and recommendations bring to limelight the issues of bribery and conflict of interest.

The program was also graced by several distinguished personalities, including the US Ambassador to Liberia, Madam Linda Thomas Greenfield

Ambassador Greenfield expressed discontentment that there is opposition to reforms by those who placed self-interest and gain instead of the interest of the country.

Greenfield: “As we all know, no one can fight corruption alone, everyone from the president, to the General Auditing Commission (GAC) to Civil Society Organizations, to ministries of Government and to every business and to average person to track and eliminate corruption. But there are few opposition to reforms from persons who placed personal gains ahead of their country’s interest.”

The ambassador called on members of the National Legislature to ensure that audit findings and recommendations are implemented for the good of the public and the country. She also called on the National Legislature to pass the Code of Conduct Act that has been sleeping at the Legislature and that full support should be provided the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) to ensure that government officials declare their assets.

“When audit reports are released and calling for simple internal control mechanism, institutions and individuals are made to carry out these mandate and when the Liberian extractive Industries transparency Initiative release a report on tax discrepancies that those recommendations are also implemented to the letter.

The Ambassador then admonished members of the Forum not to limit their advocacies on “empty talk shop” but rather more vigorous, strong and coordinated approach that will yield meaningful impact in the fight against corruption.

“This is a right step at the right time in the fight against corruption”, the Ambassador maintained.

Also speaking at the program is the National Coordinator of Open Society Initiative (OSIWA) to Liberia, Joe Pemagbi. He called on members of the Forum to use this body is a pivotal force taking the corruption and integrity fight to another level of fight for all.

Pemagbi expressed disappointment that his organization spent more than US$5m for educational support to the Government of Liberia but after a year,there was not a cent spent on the targeted project areas.

Msgr. Robert Tikpor attended the program. He summed the issue of integrity as “let your yes be yes and let your no be no.”

Dr.Emmet A Dennis, University of Liberia President gave the key note statement. He said integrity is a virtue that must practice and entirely apply by all Liberians. To protect Liberia’s nascent democracy, he stressed depends greatly on the issue of integrity and corruption.

IMF Resident Representative, Yuri Sobolev and LACC boss Frances Johnson-Morris attended.

The National Integrity Forum (NIF) collaborating institutions are the General Auditing Commission (GAC), Governance Commission (GC), the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC),the Public Procurement and Concessions Commission(PPCC) and the Liberia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative(LEITI).

Others are the Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL),the Liberia Chamber of Commerce(LCC),the Press Union of Liberia(PUL),the Catholic Justice of Peace Commi9ssion(JPC),the Corporate Responsibility Forum(CRF),the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Labor.

Also included are the Civil Service Agency (CSA), the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs (MPEA), the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) and the Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY).

The Forum is headed by LACC chairperson Frances Johnson Morris. It objectives zeroed-on providing a platform that promotes integrity standards in the public and private sectors through effective collaboration and coordination; periodically reviewing progress made towards the promotion of integrity standards; supporting the fight against corruption in a holistic systematic and sustainable manner and recommending effective policy promulgation coordination and implementation mechanisms to advance good governance.
For Further Information, Please Contact Ernest S. Maximore
Director of Communications, GAC: Tel:06578796/04949926

E-mail: esmaximore1@gacliberia.

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