8 July 2014

Liberia: Audit MOF, MPEA

As the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf-led administration cruises to its expiry just in few more years, national if not natural fatigue has set in and things are becoming really dire for the nation. The financial economy seems doom as it registers the weakest moment of Liberia dollar against the US dollar in recent history. Politically and socially, there is the trouble of protests brewing all over the place not only within but without of Government. For human rights advocate Kofi Woods, who is also former official of the Sirleaf administration, these are “signs of the time” that call for sober reflection and a recheck of the morals of functionaries. He spoke of them at a well-attended honoring program upon his return to the country from the Disapora. The Analyst reports.

Samuel Kofi Woods was in Government some seven years ago and his superb stewardship endeared him not only to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who often called “my faithful servant” but also the media and development watchdog groups which crowned him with “best forming minister of government”. Out of office, his successor grades him poorly as undertaking “substandard” public works. There is also is the criticism that Woods who rarely badmouthed Government while serving the prestigious office of Public Works Minister is now doing so to find relevance and popularity to pave his way for presidential contestation in 2017.

In the last two months or, Woods was out of the country touring several western nations; something that triggered mixed reactions—some saying it was a worthwhile vacation from the hot seat of Public Works Minister which he occupied since 2009 while others say he was there to raise funds for political reasons.

Whatever the truth is, Woods has returned to the country and one of his first stops is the Melvin B. Cox Methodist Church in Lower Caldwell where he was honored for “his many contributions to the state, Church and Humanity.”

In a response, Woods thinks the current checkered atmosphere Liberia is enduring calls for a national fast and pray time as the country moves towards is next National Day on July 26.

But divine supplications for the woes facing the country are not the solution he advanced last Sunday at the program. He thinks a professional cleansing exercise in Government is a solution, specifically suggesting a comprehensive audit of both the Ministries of Finance and Planning.

The merger of the two ministries has triggered protestations from employees who feel they are unjustly laid out in the process.

Woods has further suggested even if an audit has already been conducted, the Public Accounts Committee of the Liberian National Legislature should conduct the necessary hearings to establish a firm foundation for the merger of both institutions, which he said are critical to Liberia's development.

He stressed that Liberian people need to know the status of both institutions in terms of personnel, plans, actions and other recommendations put into the merger.

The former Public Works Minister said it is alarming and scaring that too many unfortunate, strange developments have begun occurring in Liberia, describing the situation as “Signs of the Times” that must compel Liberians to reflect.

Woods said, “The level of diminishing trust in public officials, the Ebola plague, the tragic violence in Nimba County and its attendant consequences and the change of venue of this year's celebrations are some of the signs.”

He also named the raging poverty and anger amongst Liberians, the indifference, arrogance, disdain and complacency in our society as some of the reasons that have prompted his call for fast and prayers on the National Independence Day.

He added that the day should be used to rather engage in a moment of mediation and reflection than for the usual pomp and pageantry.


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