The NEWS (Monrovia)

Liberia: Let the President Restore Calm At GAC

editorial

Controversies Over The dismissal of over 40 employees of the General Auditing Commission (GAC) appears to be one of the major issues in town as normal working activities at the institution have been stalled for some time.

Even More Serious, on Friday, November 16, 2012, students of the University of Liberia had gathered at the GAC demanding the resignation of Auditor General Robert L. Kilby or the reinstatement of the dismissed employees.

Students Were Seen displaying anti-Kilby placards as they besieged the offices of the GAC on Ashmun Street to ensure that their demands are addressed. The UL students' solidarity protest against the Auditor General followed days of public outcries over the dismissal of some 43 employees from the anti graft body. Public perception against AG Kilby seems logical and overwhelming against the backdrop of his (Kilby's) decision to dismiss the employees. The Auditor General had indicated that he dismissed the employees due to budgetary constraints, over-crowdedness, incompetence and to de-politicize the GAC.

Giving Justification For his decision, AG Kilby also told a senate hearing last Tuesday that at the GAC, there were too many people employed with the entity doing "nothing" as a result of their incompetence. While there appears to be some reasoning in his argument, however, Kilby's claim of incompetence is not supported by facts. In fact, to dismiss 43 employees at one time undermines government's desire to reduce unemployment rate in a country still rated amongst the poorest in the world. Also, such massive dismissal of employees defeats government's poverty reduction strategy and suggests that the policy on creating employment opportunities for young people will be a mirage

For Us, We see this as a troubling sign for the entire country especially at the time when the GAC should be more focused on auditing government institutions as a way of determining whether the public trust have been violated or not. Corruption is ingrained in our system of governance and has impinged in every sector of the country for which the commission is obliged to ensure that more than 130 audits are conducted within a year. These audit exercises cannot be effectively tackled when the institution responsible to deal with such menace is embroiled in controversies.

As the situation persists, it is our hope that President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf will take the lead in restoring calm at the GAC so that the fight against corruption continues unimpeded. Liberians know that corruption is the President's public enemy number one; therefore, she will not allow anybody or situation to create hiatus in the way of the audit.

Madam President, we want you to intervene because most of those dismissed at the GAC are predominantly young people who have dependents. These young men were trained and certified in foreign countries from taxpayers' money. Thus, we think that such massive dismissal at this time will compound the already existing socioeconomic problem at hand.

We Believe That the President should resolve the standoff because the situation has thrown the GAC into pointless wrangle which will lead us nowhere, without anything achievable.

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