Liberia: Gabriel Nyenkan Should Vacant LEITI

13 September 2019

The embattled Head of Secretariat of the Liberia Extractive Industries, Transparency Initiative or LEITI, Mr. Gabriel Nyenkan should do the honorable thing now by stepping down to save Liberia from being delisted from the global body.

Mr. Nyenkan, accompanied by armed police, forcibly took office at LEITI in 2018, following his appointment by President Weah in flagrant violation of Chapter 6.3d of the LEITI Act of 2009.Since its ascendency, the Nyenkan-led administration has been beclouded by missteps and continuous negative developments at the LEITI that have undermined the entity's independence and lowered stakeholders' confidence in its activities and processes.

A Liberian integrity group, Center for Transparency and Accountability this week called on President George Manneh Weah to reverse the illegal appointment of Mr. Gabriel Nyenkan as Head of Secretariat of LEITI.In a press statement issued Tuesday, 10 September CENTAL said this would allow the Multi-stakeholders Steering Group (MSG) to independently recruit a new Head of Secretariat for LEITI and other key staff to help restore the institution's sanctity and declining image.

We join CENTAL in calling on both President Weah and Mr. Nyenkan himself, to let go for the sake of integrity and international best practices. He may serve the government in other capacities.As CENTAL noted in its press statement, LEITI has been and remains a key pillar of Liberia's integrity system and must be allowed to independently play such critical role, moving forward.

"Since the appointment of the current leadership, against Chapter 6.3e of the LEITI Act of 2009, LEITI has been engulfed by controversies and gross underperformance. The illegal change in leadership and institutional brain drain, caused by undue significant changes in personnel, resulted to the institution's failure to publish its report for the fiscal period ending June 2016 within the 1 July 2018 deadline", the statement reads.

Recently, a visiting Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) delegation warned that Liberia risks being delisted from the group's process if 'significant corrective measures' are not implemented in a timely manner to revive the institution and improve governance of the Extractive sector.

What is not legally done is not right at all. It is about time the Government of Liberia accepts the reality and allows the standardized procedure in appointing the Head of Secretariat at LEITI to conform with the rest of the global body.

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