“The mixtures of inimical practices, coupled with preferential treatments will continue to embarrass the UP-led government in the fight against corruption until the regime expires.”
The comment in quotation has come from a former junior minister of the first regime of the ruling Unity Party, who spoke to the In Profile Daily over the weekend under the condition of anonymity, indicating why the fight against corruption continues to receive resilience.
According to the former junior minister, corruption is now a household name in Liberia and as the government claims it is fighting it, critics say the so-called fight is cosmetic. Many observers have often hastened to recall the 2006 inaugural address of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, when she openly declared war against corruption as public enemy number one in Liberia.
The President’s declaration at the time appeared to have assured Liberians of a system of transparency and accountability, which past regimes did not put in place while steering the affairs of the country. Notwithstanding, there have been persistent qualms harbored by cynics accusing the President of pursuing a ‘ selective justice’ in a bid to claim a fight against corruption.
Generally, pundits have maintained that Liberia’s judicial system remains very feeble while the executive continues to scapegoat or sideline what it ought to do aimed at ensuring zero tolerance on corruption. As one pundit claims, “the footnote of corruption is nepotism that is being practiced in this government. President Sirleaf cannot deny that nepotism has become entrenched in her government”.
Often time, the President herself admits that corruption has been systemic in the Liberian society, indicating that the practice does not only exist in the public sector alone, but also in the private sector and even in the homes. She has also admitted a weakling within the judicial system, which seems to have given edge to corrupt officials to go with impunity while resources pillaged remain unaccounted for.
Most public outcries have come about when certain high profile officials of government are linked to bad governance and the President is seen as being mute to urging the prosecuting arm of government to take swift and corrective measures as she does in low profile cases involving those serving at the level of director in government.
Though constant clarifications are made in reactions to allegations of corruption in the emerging energy sector, many critics feel disgusted while the President has to appoint her son, Robert Sirleaf as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Oil Company of Liberia.
Advocacies have in recent time increased over this appointment following media reports that Mr. Sirleaf is not only Chairman of the NOCAL Board, but he also has business interest in one of the offshore blocks in the county.
It also seems that there are suspicions everywhere in the government because most appointments that have been made in the government reflect recycled officials whose previous places of work were suspected of wrongdoing.
“The declaration of whistleblower to help fight corruption is only a political statement because those who choose to whistle blow want to risk their lives,” one pundit indicated. However, the pundit also said some of the so-called whistleblowers are paid to taint the characters of other people who are not corrupt.
There are reports that in order to cover up mischief, some ministries and agencies appoint close affiliates or to some extent relatives, to serve as accountants who will not leak their secrets. “ This is why some ministers are changing or dismissing some employees under the disguise of fighting corruption,” the pundit claim.