Liberia ranks 137/180 countries, with a score of 28/100. (This score is 13 points below what it was in 2012).

Delivered by: Violet Baffour

Let me appreiate the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) for the invitation and make a commitment to UNDP’s continued support to integrity institutions in Liberia.

UNDP is happy to have partnered with the LACC and other integrity institutions to commemorate International Anti-Corruption Day, a day that calls for great circumspection, deep reflection, and a stronger commitment to demonstrating positive results in promoting accountability and fighting corruption.

Promoting accountability and preventing corruption, is of the highest importance for the sustainability of the development investments in Liberia.

As an agency that focuses on development, we take the fight against corruption very seriously, as it forms the biggest obstacle to economic growth and private sector development, contributes to poverty and inequality.

Corruption also undermines good governance and has implications for peace, prosperity, and meaningful economic progress because it steals money away from the public services intended to provide good quality education, sound health care systems, good road networks and decent work and economic growth.

Moreover, corruption erodes trust in governments and undermines the social contract. UNDP continues to engage Liberians regarding the causes of corruption and the need for stronger action.

At a Development Dialogue which we had the pleasure of co-hosting yesterday with Sweden,  provided a platform for the LACC, civil society and practitioners to reflect on corruption in Liberia.

A number of factors were identified as weak points that fuel corruption in the country. These include  (i) weak laws to prosecute including the lack of a specialised court, (ii) the non-compliance or implementation of laws even where they exist, (iii) lack of political will; and (iv) lack of public trust in State institutions.

The global theme for this year’s International Anti-Corruption Day, “Your right, your role: Say No to Corruption”, highlights the whole-of Liberia approach that is needed to fight corruption and promote accountability. All Liberians—government, Civil Society, the media, and all citizens— to work collectively to Say “NO” TO CORRUPTION.

Preventing corruption does not merely mean making grand commitments, printing posters or running adverts on TV and radio. Preventing corruption means putting in place concrete measures and firm public management, finance and procurement practices that foster, transparency and accountability. It means (i) educating citizens to promote the values of integrity; (ii) creating a safe space for citizens to report corruption; and (iii) holding all citizens to account equally, in compliance with Liberia’s laws (this means no selective justice).

Any meaningful response to corruption should ensure that (i) Integrity Institutions are appropriately resourced to carry out their vital oversight and prevention mandates; and (ii) a strong partnership exists among the all the national integrity institutions, the media, and Civil Society to promote transparency and accountability. This will ensure that Liberia’s systems of transparency and accountability are functional and effective.

It is also important that the criminal justice system can enforce the anti-corruption laws that are in place. This means strengthening the rule of law sector and security institutions. The integrity and fairness of the formal criminal justice system is vital for public confidence in the State. Consequently, much more needs to be done to ensure that punitive sanctions are imposed as a deterrent against corruption, not least, imprisonment.

As Liberia intensifies its anti-corruption response, a holistic approach is necessary to ensure that quick wins are achieved. This would include specifically but not limited to:

- Accelerating the passage of key legislative reforms such as the Amendments to the LACC Act granting the LACC prosecutorial powers and establishing an anti-corruption court.

- Ensuring compliance with laws and policies, especially in the area of procurement, which constitutes the majority of Government expenditure.

- Ensuring that financial statements are prepared for all government departments, to enable open and transparent auditing.

- Stabilizing the existing communications infrastructure to maximize the use of technology to increase accessibility for people living in rural communities and the counties to access governance structures.

- Actively listening to and engage with citizens’ concerns raised through the media or other civic forums and encouraging them to hold the public sector to account; and,

- Responding publicly to the recommendations of the Integrity Institutions.

We recognize the efforts of the LACC, under the leadership of the Chair, for recent strides taken in opening up new investigations and engaging with civil society to establish the e-platform through which citizens may engage, report and track corruption.

Finally, we wish the Chair and his peers well as they lead Liberia’s fight to promote accountability.

Thank you.

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