Corruption within the Liberian society has constituted a major socio-economic and political problem, most times with devastating consequences, at the behest of either intruders into functionaries with no goal to accomplish, or willfully indulged into by elements who feel that the country must continue to be viewed as “elephant meat” allowing individuals to cut and carry on their heads or backs that which is withstandable.
No longer a strange practice not only in Liberia but throughout the world, corruption --- in this case political corruption --- has gravely contributed to the dismantling of, at times, very good governance systems to the detriment of nations, since it continues to be likened to thread worm which resonates whenever its head is even decapitated.
Without delving into the historicity surrounding the experiences had with the menace in the country over the decades, having had the leadership of the nation’s 19th President, the Rev. Dr. William Richard Tolbert, Jr. to have, in the mid-1970s, institutionalized counter-measures for its minimization, recent period has since begun witnessing claims and counter-claims by individuals and institutions over alleged acts of corruption.
No doubt a cancerous disease if not nipped in the bud upon suspecting its visible presence in any society, one only needs to look critically review a basic perspective in which governmental policies are most times rendered vulnerable within the theoretical setting and worth practicalization in determining its impact.
For the purpose of the nation’s momentary strides at reconstruction, as evidenced by the level of progress that has thus far been made following a 14-year debacle, projects designed for implementation in various communities become lessons, although unquestionable of the current leadership strides at putting into place governance systems intended to ensure maximum control and productivity.
Theoretically upheld, for example, that procedures involved in the selection of contractors, in this instant a bidding system since employed by government, specifying the type of works, labor, turnkey and contract documents, monitoring and supervision of contractor’s work encompassing purchase and supply of plant, machinery and materials continue to remain areas that are indeed vulnerable to corruption.
Whilst specifications and designs may be appear concise, if not attractive on paper, moreso with stage payments to contractors following completion of projects that must subsequently be commissioned, extreme precaution must be taken, if not having since been observed with corrective actions instituted, of the vagueness at times in procedures coupled with overlapping jurisdictions by authorities that renders the implementation of projects vulnerable to corruption.
Worse becomes the failure to specify the performance parameters and methodology of verification, as rightly placed by V. Edgardo Prandhan who edited the “Many Faces of Corruption,” with failure to spell out clear procedures for routine as well as emergency purchases further becoming leakages.
Void of amplification of the tremendous efforts that continue to be made by the current leaderhip, headed by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, allowing the PPCC now headed by Professor Willie Belleh, Jr. to, for the first time in the postbellum, serve more or less as a clearing house in the process, with various government ministries and agencies gradually coping with the system, specificity in contracts, a clearly-defined procedure in bid documents, designation of supervisors with clear responsibilities, allocation of sufficient funds for payments to avert disputes and claims of escalation of costs must be guided against.
On the more practical and domestically-practiced side of rendering vulnerable institutionalized systems to acts of corruption, a recent submission to the Honorable House of Representatives by Rivercess County District #2 Representative, Hon. Francis Paye, in which the Minister of Public Works, Attorney-At-Law Samuel Kofi Woods had been cited to provide justifications for abandoned projects given sub-contractors in the political sub-division, with off-shoots from all sub-divisions of the country becoming a case presents a vivid picture not at the hurt of the Public Works Minister but simply a guide to future processes.
With results now begun to be realized as a result of fast-readjustment of contractors and sub-contractors to modes that would propel not only the current but future leaderships to not rendering the nation to any form of vulnerability to corruption, in subjection of the Liberia Anti Corruption Commission (LACC) of Chairlady Cllr. Frances Johnson-Allison to prolonged investigations, or the Ministry of Justice now headed by tough and soft-spoken Cllr. Christina Tarr, this could just represent one of the many faces of corruption that can be dimmed.