25 January 2013

Liberia: 'Bogus' Contracts Undermine Corruption Fight - LACC Boss

The Chairperson of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), Cllr. Frances Johnson-Allison, says the awarding of contracts to "bogus companies" in the public sector continues to weaken the fight against corruption here. According to Cllr. Johnson-Alison, "bogus contracts" are awarded to companies by public officials to the detriment of the Liberian people, especially the grass rooters.

The LACC boss pointed out that investigations conducted by the LACC have shown that some contracts have being awarded to "bogus companies" by public officials to satisfy their personal interest. She made these comments Wednesday, January 23, 2013 program marking the official launch of the Liberia Open Budget Initiative held at the Ministry of Finance in Monrovia.

Speaking further, Cllr. Johnson-Allison stressed the need for transparency and accountability in the implementation of the country's national budget. She stated that adequate and appropriate implementation of the budget remains key to the fight against corruption in the country.

She said the awarding of contracts in the public sector must be comparative and transparent in order to combat the menace that continues to eat every fabric of the Liberian society.

At the same time, the LACC boss has called for the amendment of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Law of Liberia.

Cllr. Johnson-Alison noted that the current FOI law "prevents people from having access to certain information" and as such, it must be amended in order to promote transparency and accountability in the public sector. She maintained that the laws must be revised because it contains several objections that obstruct the sharing of information.

"We need to have transparency in the implementation of our budget. People are spending government money in a way that is not pleasing to people at the grass root level. They award contracts to bogus companies. People who spend their money do not know those who are using their money to implement projects. There should be transparency and openness in the awarding of contracts," she stated.

"We need full disclosure of information. Disclosure cannot be one way and we need to disclose everything. The FOI law must be amended because there are many objections. We have to be transparent. This fight cannot stop here; it has to move on to every level of the society." She among other things, commended Finance Minister Amara Konneh, for the launch of the initiative adding that, "this is an effort to curb corruption."

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