The Inquirer (Monrovia)

19 May 2014

Liberia: Amidst Unmil Drawdown GOL Increases Security Sector Budget Allocation

Finance Minister, Amara Konneh, has disclosed that following the drawdown of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), the Government of Liberia (GOL) plans to increase the budget allocation for the security sector in 2014-2015.

Speaking recently at the 42nd Graduation Ceremony of Basic Recruits for the Liberia National Police (LNP) at the National Police Training Academy (NPTA), the Finance Minister said that already UNMIL has vacated several counties in the country and it is imperative that the country's security forces are placed in those parts of the country to ensure that citizens there are protected.

Liberia's least populated counties such as Rivercess, Grand Kru and River Gee Counties have already experienced UNMIL drawdown and it's compelling on the GOL to provide security to citizens and foreigners in those parts of the country.

With the graduation of 191 new police basic recruits who are from all of the country's fifteen counties, Rivercess County for example would only receive one new recruit in a county where already only a handful of police officers are.

Minister Konneh, in his disclosure said that security is a priority in the country's agenda for transformation and due to the LNP being constrained in manpower and logistics the government is committed to make changes in the Para-military institution within the next three years.

He said that the GOL would recruit some 900 police officers every year beginning this year with the expectance of 8000 within the time frame. He added that class 42 is the beginning of the work of stakeholders in the security sector that have worked overtime to improve the security sector of the country.

He said further that the 2013/2014 budget for the Ministry of Justice was some US$82 million and is expected to climb to over US$95 million in the 2014/2015 fiscal budget.

"The LNP would experience an increase from US$15.2million to US$21 million as well as other security agencies would be given a budget increase to help those agencies face challenges when executing their mandates to protect life and property," the Finance Minister intimated.

The Liberian Finance Minister said that the increment won't solve all the problems facing the LNP but it is progress so far.

The Inspector General of the LNP, Clarence Massaquoi, said that the LNP is preparing itself to take full internal support to Liberia when UNMIL leaves; adding that to adequately do that the NPTA has to be supported.

The Inspector General of the LNP said that the Professional Standards Division was established to reduce the number of corruption, bribery, among others within the LNP.

He further cautioned the newly graduated officers against unethical conduct, emphasizing that the rules would not be bent for any officer.

The Police Boss added that citizens should also avoid bribing officers as a task force would be created within the coming months to curtail citizens, especially motorists who bribe police officers.

The Commissioner of Police for the United Nations Police in Liberia, Gregory Hinds, told the graduates to always display the best standards of behavior as they would be scrutinized by the media, community and the government.

He urged them to be of service and to reduce criminality throughout the country at the same time retaining their integrity and credibility.

The Acting Minister of Justice, Wheatonia Barnes, said that most of the newly graduated officers would be stationed outside of Monrovia.

For his part the Commandant of the NPTA, Titus Kimba, said that the new officers were going out as servants of the public and should therefore operate within the confines of their promised oath.

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