Somebody please tell me exactly what is going on around here in Liberia; have we seized to be trust worthy to ourselves, our development partners and worst of all our nation? If you ask me I would say yes. It seems like corruption is taking over in every sphere of our lives.
For some time now, I have been doing my own informal survey and the result, although not scientific points in the wrong direction. Here are some of my experiences;
· I hired two gentlemen to paint my building, they asked for several cans of gray paint to do the job right; they received the paint and started the job. Because of my tight schedule, we agreed that I'd do a final check after the job is done. Two days later, I went to do a spot check and noticed that they have been stealing the paint. They would take a full can of gray paint, sell it for whatever, bring back an empty can of whatever color and sprinkle it with gray paint so that I won't notice. They almost succeeded until I saw a green paint mark on one of the cans. After double checking, ten cans of paint were stolen and sold – they were fired.
· I hired a young driver to drive my taxi, he came highly recommended. For the first three months, he did very well. He got permission to keep the keys overnight since he needed to be up early. What a mistake that was; one night, my intuition told me to drive to the parking garage at 2 A.M., when I got there, the car was no where to be seen. I called him, told him I had an emergency and needed to use the car and that I would appreciate meeting him at the parking lot. We met there alright, at the gate, where he was summarily fired and let go for good. To this day he still comes around to ask for handouts.
· I hired an older gentleman to drive the same taxi, he was just as worst off. He had a way of getting charters through his brother; he would take the car, come back in the night and say the car's been parked all day because of tires or some mechanical problems. He did this for a while until his cover was blown when he was chartered by a decoy of mine for three days at US$35/day. For the three days, he reported LD$500.00 on day one and nothing for the next two. He claimed the police impounded the car for sticker. At the end of the charter, his customer asked him to lunch with a friend, they entered the restaurant before me. When I walked in, he was puzzled, to say the least. I asked him to empty his pockets and give me every penny he had, he did, I didn't recover much, but enough for three days of reporting. He was let go.
· My friend hired a maid to cook and clean up when the kids were gone to school. She was entrusted with the keys and the entire house. Apparently, she took his trust for granted and helped herself to several cups of rice, oil, pepper, onions, and other things everyday. One day, he bought enough provisions, marked them all with permanent marker at the bottom. A day later, he came home early just before she left work, sat at a neighbor's house awaiting her. As she was passing to go home, he called her, checked her bag and discovered what she's been doing all along.
This is our LIB, this is how it's working now. It goes from the maid to the offices of all NGOs, UN Organizations, Government Offices, Media Outlets, small to large businesses and as we have now come to know, Office of the President of Liberia.
It seems like we are all rehearsing for the next opportunity to loot whatever we can. We can not help ourselves, it's in the blood and bolstered by abundant resources and influx of businesses, organizations and people willing to give bribes or grafts or kickbacks or whatever you would like to call it.
No one is immune, not even the religious folks, they are even worse, considering that they should be praying for us to be redeemed from our wicked ways. They have master the game even better. They have just as much horrible stories behind them that they don't want told and if one broaches the topic, he or she is vilified as was with the case of Finance Minister Nganfuan when he said something about the Church.
In essence, it's no secret that people in the highest office in this land would ridicule themselves to the extent they did.
But hey, don't be sad, worst have happened before and many more will come again, this is LIB, besides corruption, most things don't remain the same, they get better – even the techniques in corrupting.