STAOP aims to support strengthening governance and promoting transparency and accountability, prioritized by the Government of Liberia as a key tenet for enhancing good governance.
It contributes to efforts by government and other actors to strengthen corruption prevention, transparency and accountability in Liberia.
State institutions and civil society organizations are provided support to increase transparency and accountability in governance processes by (i) establishing a broad consensus on need for incorporating the principles of integrity, transparency and accountability in governance (ii) strengthening institutional capacity and coordination to promote transparency and accountability and curb impunity (iii) creating opportunities for civic engagement to monitor public sector and engage in transparency and accountability mechanisms.
It works through and with the Liberia Anticorruption Commission (LACC), the key Agency charged with spearheading the fight against corruption in Liberia whose institutional capacities are built to strengthen systems and processes for investigating and prosecuting corruption; and building anticorruption coalitions among civil society organizations and ordinary citizens to increase transparency and accountability in governance processes.
What have We Accomplished So Far?
The investigative and prosecutorial capacities of the LACC have been enhanced and the number of investigators and prosecutors increased from 2 prior to 2017 to about 6 investigators in 2017.
13 cases were investigated in 2017 as compared to 2 prior to 2017 and 5 cases were prosecuted as compared to 2 prior to 2017.
A State-of-the-art cybercrime lab has enhanced LACC’s capacity to investigate cyber related and fraud cases using forensic investigations techniques. Additionally, the upgrading of the assets declaration platform has strengthened LACC’s capacity to enforce the assets declaration regulations which has resulted in 411 officials from the Executive Branch of Government declaring their assets in 2017.
During the implementation period of 2017, PPCC’s E-tender Process re-engineering was enhanced and this led to the registration of 455 businesses on its Vendor Registration Platform with women owned businesses constituting 0.66% (30 women owned businesses - www.ppcc.gov.lr/vr). This achievement is largely attributed to awareness made through the erection of three giant sized-billboards with transparency and accountability awareness messages; use of radio jingles and dramas to encourage Liberian vendors (particularly women businesses) to take advantage of the 25% procurement opportunity exclusively set aside for Liberian owned businesses.
The procurement of and installation of Firewalls for enhanced internet security of the PPCC is a key achievement as cyber security threats to PPCC online applications such as Document Management System, Procurement Plan Portal, and Vendor Register no longer exists and thereby prevents or minimizes the chances of corruption.
Increased awareness by the CSOs on accountability, transparency and corruption issues has deepen the understanding of ordinary community members and the threats it poses to their existence.
Four CSOs (FIND, IREDD, LMDI and DEN-L) used various forms of engagements including debates among students, radio talk shows, jingles, dramas, and training of CBOs to engage community members, to increase the level of awareness surrounding accountability, transparency, integrity and corruption issues in Liberia. (www.lmdilib.org and https://www.frontpageafricaonline.com/index.php/news/5398-institute-for-democratic-development-launches-stoap-project; http://www.lmdilib.org/Press_Gallery.html)
In 2018, LACC investigated and completed five cases of corruption, recommending four for prosecution to the Ministry of Justice and obtaining a guilty verdict in one high profile case that involved a sitting lawmaker.
Twenty investigative staff members of the LACC received advanced training in digital evidence recovery, gathering and management, thus strengthening their capacities to investigate cyber related crimes and fraud. This training, coupled with other awareness raising events on corruption prevention is seen as a better option to combating corruption rather than employing the use of investigative and prosecutorial strategies. The LACC investigated payroll irregularities at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) resulting in the restitution of amounts being held liable for by five accomplices.