The Search for Common Ground (SFCG)/Talking Drum Studio, the Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL) and the General Auditing Commission (GAC) on Friday, May 11, 2012 signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will see the implementation of a Non-State Actor program funded by the European Union. Signing for SCFG/Talking Drum Studio and CENTAL were Oscar Bloh, Country Director, Thomas Doe Nah, Executive Director respectively, and for the GAC was the Acting Auditor General, Winsley S. Nanka.
The MOU guides the relationships between SFCG/CENTAL and the GAC for the work referred to as “United Against Corruption: Increasing coordination between the General Auditing Commission (GAC), civil society and the media” to be implemented in six counties.
The Acting Auditor-General, in his opening statement, indicated that the signing ceremony between GAC and civil society was the first of its kind and aims at curbing corruption in the country.
“This collaboration is a milestone in the history of Civil Society and the GAC. This is the first MOU with civil society organization since I have been at the GAC, and it is intended to strengthen GAC’s outreach activities, as indicated by the Mexican and Lima Declarations by International Organizations of Supreme Audit institutions (INTOSAI). Collaborating with civil society and the media is very important for outreach activities in a supreme audit institution, as Civil Society plays a very important role in our fight against corruption and impunity.
He lauded the efforts of the European Union which has been contributing immensely to the work of the commission. Under the arrangement, the people of Nimba, Bong, Margibi, Bomi, Grand Bassa and Montserrado will be informed about GAC’s audit recommendations as they affect their communities. The program will allow the people in these counties to know exactly what is happening to the tax payer’s dollars as well as assistance given by the donor communities as contained in the audit report recommendations.
Speaking on behalf of Search for Common Ground/Talking Drum Studio, Mr. Bloh said for some of time now public perception about the role and function of the GAC has been distorted, noting that in 2010, SFCG did a public survey which indicated that people have trust in the role of the GAC but at the same time, some people suggested that the GAC should have prosecuting powers for those bodies that it audits.
Mr. Bloh further made it clear that it was against this background that this proposal was made to see how the media, the civil society and the GAC could jointly work to make their common objective more functional, “and so for us getting into such partnership with the GAC is a milestone in our history.” For them “partnership is based on trust and trust goes with understanding, responsibilities and enhanced communication.
For his part, Thomas Doe Nah of CENTAL, expressed his happiness and felt inflated, adding that much of what they envisaged for this country during the embryonic stage of CENTAL as an organization in 2004 is now coming to fruition.
“The fact that we now have a General Auditing Commission, that we believe is aggressive, independent and is prepared to tackle some of the issues that people felt should have been swept under the carpet, we think it is laudable, noting that CENTAL’s signing of the MOU with the GAC is because it strengthens the parties’ mutual interest, which is to rid this country of abuse and the misused of state resources.