Monday, April 25, 2011

Liberia: Scrap the General Auditing Commission (GAC)

Source: All Africa

From the onset of its re-emergence, the reformed General Auditing Commission (GAC) has attracted controversy. The nature of its role and functions, as conceived by donors, amongst them the European Union, has placed it at the center of bitter duels with several government officials who see it as a meddling and reckless entity designed to ruin their careers and reputation. The substance of its work is lost in haranguing radio talk shows and stupefying polemics better suited for high school debating contests. The GACís worth in restructuring the countryís terrible financial management system, on which any country should rely if resources are to be accounted for the benefit of the population, is recognized largely by outsiders accustomed to dealing with issues of probity, as in the case of US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Bruce Wharton, who declared that:

"Although public financial management has improved, corruption remains prevalent and a significant threat to Liberian democracy. Liberia's Auditor General has aggressively and thoroughly tracked government revenue from practically every ministry, but the government follow-up has been very disappointing. Some crucial bills affecting key resources such as timber and maritime revenue have been passed without adequate attention to key details. Furthermore, the government must begin addressing a wide variety of issues affecting national reconciliation."

In its present form, independent with its leadership internationally vetted, and based on the political realities, the GAC has become a declared enemy within official circles because of its modus operandi. It has become a liability for the government as it stands.

We therefore suggest that it should be dissolved with the money spent to have it operational saved for more rewarding endeavours. If this is done, the shouting matches will cease and the media mudslinging on accountability halted. Everyone in government will be happy in one big happy family.

There are other reasons making this problem organization completely unnecessary, amongst them:

A) Its audit reports remain stacked in offices and ignored. Only those in the media interested in how state money is spent take time to go through the bulky and detailed explanations of which government officials allegedly stole how much.

B) According to the US State Department Human Rights report just released, not a single official amongst the dozens listed in several audit reports was deemed necessary for prosecution on the basis of the audits. The report said the Legislature, to which the GAC reports by law, simply did not find it warranted to suggest prosecution for those who allegedly siphoned public funds convinced of state protection.

C) Many of those indirectly removed from their positions due to the audits have been re-appointed to other state positions. For example, one of the deputy ministers at the Ministry of Education, accused in the audit of siphoning funds with other reports of running a personal education empire, has been named to run another educational outfit. This official has been vindicated, making the GAC useless and a burden on taxpayers, whether here or in donor countries.

D) Responses to GAC audits are heard mainly on paid for radio interviews, robbing the entity of its status and rendering it irrelevant.

For these and other reasons, honesty demands that this troublesome body be scrapped.

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Inside Liberia with Bernard Gbayee Goah

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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