7 February 2013

Liberia: Hailing NOCAL Cash Retrieval from Defaulted Vendor


IN A COUNTRY where public perception of corruption is exceedingly high, hasty generalization is a temptation and many characters are put at stake. But there are cases that come out to disprove the collective quilt syndrome. Such a case has come with the pronouncement by the National Oil Company which this week revealed that it has retrieved US$163,000 from a local vendor, who defaulted on the delivery of goods and services, which were to be procured, for the just ended National County Sports Meet. In the rarity of such an endeavor, it is appropriate for every well-meaning citizen, including the media, to exalt the move and urge for its continuity and replication in the public and private sectors.

NOCAL HAS REPORTED that as part of its policy to promote Liberian owned business, under its local content and participation strategy, it contracted the services of the Boima Folley Sports Center, following the PPCC guidelines to supply sports equipment and wears for the County Meet. After all documentations of the guidelines were met, NOCAL asserted, the vendor failed to provide the services even after the full payment was deposited into his account. Instead of playing the "good Samaritan" role, or promoting "Liberianization" by waiving the money, NOCAL did the unusual "Liberian thing" by pursuing the defaulted vendor and subsequently retrieving the full some of the defaulted contract.

CORRUPTION IN THE public sector, as the nation has seen from bundles of audit reports produced by the General Auditing Commission (GAC), is bolstered through procurement processes. Most GAC reports have unveiled the plunder of resources through a collusion of corrupt public officials and unscrupulous vendors who not only float precepts of the PPCC but also strike deals the prey on public money. Instead of doing the normal thing of ignoring the dictates of transparency and accountability prevalent in the public sector, NOCAL management overcame the temptation of self interest and salvaged US$163,000 back into public treasury.

FOR US, THIS RARE move by NOCAL—this glaring departure from Liberian business as usual—is worthy of commendation. Not only does it teach the hard lesson of accountability and fiscal responsibility but reassures the general public, specifically skeptics that the country's budding oil and gas economy is squarely and firmly in good hands. We encourage the management of NOCAL to cleave to this anti-corruption posture, a tendency highly contributive to the peace and tranquility the sector so badly desires.

HOPE OTHER PUBLIC agencies and officials will take cue from the NOCAL experience. Liberia needs every dime and nickel its resources earn. It is only responsibility and good character that will lead to the realization of the development of this country—the good road networks, good salary for civil servants, electricity and water, amongst other social services—desperately needs.

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