--says Pres. Weah
President George Manneh Weah says corruption, waste and the abuse of public resources have continuously undermined Liberia's development since its independence.
Speaking Monday, 18 February at the dedication of state-of-the-art facilities at the Internal Audit Agency (IAA) in Congo Town, President Weah indicated that past administrations have done what they could to fight corruption, but with little or no success.
The facilities aim to strengthen the IAA in the execution of its mission to uncover and prevent corruption and fraud in the Ministries, Agencies, Commissions, and other State-owned Enterprises of government.
President Weah says in spite of their efforts, officials of government continued to violate the public trust with impunity.
He recalls his Inaugural Address in which he pledged to step up the fight against corruption.
In fulfillment of this pledge, President Weah says his administration has committed significant resources to anti-graft institutions, including the IAA.
According to him, government will continue to provide the necessary support that these institutions need to do their job.
"Besides providing such support, my administration is presently prosecuting those Government employees who have been found to be engaged in these unwholesome practices. All those found guilty will be dealt with in keeping with the full weight of the law," he notes.
According to President Weah, since its establishment, the IAA has been doing a commendable job in cleaning government's payrolls of ghost workers and several million dollars have been saved from such exercises conducted at the Ministries of Health and Education.
"From these savings, Government was able to take on the responsibility of paying health workers who were previously being paid by donors, and to put volunteer teachers on the Government's payroll," President Weah explains.
He says the practice of payroll padding through the placement of ghost names on payrolls is a phenomenon which has existed in many previous administrations, none of which has been successful in eradicating it.
Also speaking, IAA Director General Emmanuel B. Nyeswa says since 2018 to 2019, the IAA has achieved a lot,including the payroll audit of the Ministry of Health, savingUS$1.3million, the Ministry of Education, saving US$2.3million, and the relocation of head office to Tubman Boulevard.
He also cites the installation of CCTV, and thumbprint sign in machine, among others.
Mr. Nyeswa says the external auditors could never achieve what the IAA has achieved in this short period of time.The IAA boss explains further that the institution has deployed auditors to 52 ministries and agencies and four counties, carrying out an effective internal audit function and providing oversight.