IN RECENT weeks, two senior high-profile members of the Biden administration have delivered a clear-cut message to President Georgia Weah and his government: Corruption is at the core of government lapses and killing the democracy.
CURRENT U.S. Ambassador to Liberia, Michael McCarthy put straight in the face of Liberian government how corrupt it is, corrupt to the extent a U.S. lawmaker has put forth a resolution for the sanctioning of corrupt individuals in Liberia who actions tend to derail democracy.
WHILE LIBERIA was observing the 213th birthday of her first President, Joseph Jenkins Roberts, which is observed as a national holiday, Amb. McCarthy in an Op-Ed asked several nerve-wracking questions. Key among those questions was:
HOW WOULDLiberia’s first statesman feel to know that his country’s top ally was compelled to sanction members of Liberia’s government just to preserve rule of law and the democracy he helped establish?
HE STATED in that Op-Ed which was titled: What Would J.J. Roberts Have to Say about Liberia Today?, that the “United States of America has, no doubt, also failed to live up to some of the aspirations of our first president, but I believe George Washington would be pleased to know that the country he fought to establish would today be working to support democracy and fight corruption both at home and in places like Liberia.”
HE WENT on to disclose a startling revelation that U.S. Embassy investigation established that drugs donated by USAID to hospital and clinics in places like Sanniquellie in Nimba County and Kolahun in Lofa County were being stolen and sold while those clinics are forced to operate without those essential drugs.
AMB. MCCARTHY’S expressed disgust of corruption in Liberia has barely gotten off the news when former U.S. Ambassador to Liberia, Linda Thomas-Greenfield who is known and prides herself as a Friend of Liberia, also put it straight in the face that corruption remains Liberia’s foremost problem.
SPEAKING ON a panel marking the 200-year commemoration of U.S.-Liberia ties along with her fellow former U.S. Ambassadors to Liberia: Ambassadors Blaney, Booth, Elder, and Malac, as well as our current Ambassador to Liberia, Michael McCarthy, Amb. Greenfield stated that though corruption has been an age-old problem in Liberia which ambassadors serving in the country have from time-to-time condemned. However, she said its impact is being felt more than ever as the country deals with the aftermath of Ebola and the coronavirus pandemic.
SHE SAID, “Liberia has a serious problem right now, and that’s taking on a number of issues, foremost among them is the issue of corruption. And this is an issue that we are seeing across the board, not just in Liberia, but in other places. And for me, corruption is an act of robbery, plain and simple. It’s a cancer in our societies. It is government stealing from the people of Liberia, from the mouths of children. It takes away access to health care. It denies citizens their right to public safety. It stops young people of Liberia from getting the education they deserve. It takes the future away from them. It prevents the country from having the healthy business environment that it needs to lift Liberians out of poverty. It has denied Liberia its place in history, a successful and prosperous country with so many resources to contribute to its people’s well-being.”
SHE WOULD, however, not disclose how the Biden administration which is bent on countering corruption and cracking down on criminal actors and their networks.
BUT THESE are not the first-time high-profile officials of the U.S. government speaking bluntly against corruption in Liberia in recent time.
LIBERIA’S CORRUPTION was clearly emphasized when the Special Assistant to Pres. Biden gave her remarks during Liberia’s Bicentennial Celebration in February when she described corruption as “an act of robbery against the Liberian people”.
“Liberia has a host of anti-corruption institutions. But while these institutions are nominally and legally independent from the Government of Liberia, the truth is that the government fails to adequately fund them and exerts its influence upon them. Too many of Liberia’s leaders have chosen their own personal short-term gain over the long-term
benefit of their country,” she stated.
ALL THESE condemnations of corruption in Liberia come in the wake of House Foreign Committee Chairman, Gregory Meeks, who has proffered a resolution seeking to strengthen relationship between America and Liberia but at the same time protect America’s investment in Liberia by sanctioning corrupt individuals who, through their acts of corruption, derail the democracy.
AT LEAST two high-profile Liberian officials have faced U.S. sanctions due to corruption and more heads are expected to roll.
WITH THESE continuous warnings from top officials of Biden’s administration, the Liberian government should now be putting its house in check.
THESE ARE the signs that the cup is full and there is no more room for tolerance when it comes to corruption in Liberia.
THESE ARE the signs that the Uncle Sam is prepared to take an uncompromising posture in dealing with corruption in Liberia.
THESE ARE hints to the wise that dragnet is flying over heads already.
IT IS QUITE a shame that at 175 years, we are still be told how to properly govern our country in the best interest of the people.
IT IS QUITE a shame that despite the 14 years of senseless war which was sparked by the so-called fight against corruption, current officials of government are still living lavishly from the proceeds of corruption while the country’s only international airport sit in absolute darkness.
It is quite a shame that the country’s biggest referral hospital cannot afford some essential drugs; patients on the ward cannot settle their medical bills; health practitioners, the police and teachers are still being grossly under-paid – all as a result of chronic corruption.
BUT UNCLE SAM has put the writings on the wall, clearly enough for all to see, that the end to impunity when it comes to corruption, is here.