Press Statement By the General Auditing Commission (GAC)


Photo Credit: Communications Department

A workshop designed to contribute to the fight against corruption in Liberia was jointly organized by the General Auditing Commission and the Swedish Embassy. The three-day workshop titled "Promoting Transparency and Accountability in Liberia: “Taking Stock, Improving Dialogue and Supporting Existing Initiatives" was facilitated by the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre from 22nd to 24th May 2012, in Monrovia. The Acting Auditor General, Winsley S. Nanka, stressed in his opening remarks that: "Institutions of such integrity play an important role in fighting the scourge of corruption, and that they have to work together to effect the necessary reforms."

 

More than 40 participants from government ministries and agencies, county administrations, anti-corruption agencies, civil society organizations, and development partners took part in the event.

 

In her opening remarks, the head of Development Cooperation of the Embassy of Sweden, Gisela Strand, reiterated Sweden's support for development in Liberia, adding that there is a need for rapid and comprehensive reforms and changes in society for the fight against corruption to be effective - a "big bang" approach - which Liberia seems prepared to pursue. In her key note remarks, the Executive Chairperson of LACC, Frances Johnson-Allison, confirmed the need for systemic reforms.

 

During the workshop, participants took stock of anti-corruption initiatives in Liberia; and identified ways in which on-going civil service and public financial management reforms can be made more effective in fighting corruption. Methods that were found useful were, for example, public expenditure tracking, budget simplification and social audits. Government and civil society organizations agreed that these tools would be effective in holding authorities to account.

It was also noted during the workshop that for the fight against corruption to be sustainable, both the government and the private sectors have to play a vital role, as in any corruption case, there is a giver and a receiver.

 

The workshop concluded that there was a need for prioritization and sequencing of reforms to "get the basic right". Several county superintendents and other officials called for reform of the budget law in order to increase transparency in the management of County Development Funds.

 

A key outcome of the workshop was the increased understanding between county superintendents, central government officials and civil society representatives on the challenges that they all face in the fight against corruption. Agreeing on common challenges, participants jointly identified potential solutions, and made commitment to coordinating more closely so as to ensure that the resources intended for the improvement of the lives of the Liberian people are not lost to corruption.