Liberia, January 25, 2017----The Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL), the local chapter of Transparency International (TI) is pleased to release results of the 2016 Corruption Perception Index.
Liberia has ranked 90/176 with a CPI score of 37, showing no progress since a decline from 41 in 2012 to 37 in 2015 and 2016. While we outperformed our immediate neighbors (Ivory coast, Sierra Leone and Guinea) who scored 34, 30 and 27 respectively, we still remain among poor performers globally. This year, 176 countries and territories are included in the index, eight (8) more than in 2015. Findings of the research show that corruption still remains a major challenge globally and that countries need to do more to entrench integrity and accountability.
CENTAL is deeply concerned about Liberia’s continuous decline, which speaks to our inability to address entrenched culture of impunity and enforce existing laws and policies. Lack of action (s) and delayed investigation and prosecution of alleged corrupt officials, often than not, due to lack of political will and appointment of relatives and cronies in key positions of trust, is seriously hurting the country and its anti-corruption efforts. In the last few months, we have read and heard about scandals involving top officials of government that have not been satisfactorily dealt with. These increasing numbers of scandals and corruption cases, which leave the public wondering about the safety of public resources and whether government will ever improve their living conditions, is troubling. Recent reports of payment of salaries and benefits to public officials, months after resigning or being dismissed and alerts from the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning about financial improprieties involving high-placed officials is even more worrisome. In the midst of high unemployment and harsh economic conditions, handful of individuals cannot continuously abuse public resources without being prosecuted.
We wish to admonish the government, especially the Presidency that the fight against corruption cannot succeed through lip service and continuous shielding of officials when implicated in scandals and misdeeds. For example, the Bankruptcy of NOCAL was treated as business as usual, while investigation into mismanagement of the Japanese Grant to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for capacity building has not ended after almost two years. A government firmly committed to addressing impunity and promoting a culture of transparency and accountability cannot afford to proceed in these manners with its anti-corruption fight. If the current trend continues, success will remain farfetched; citizens’ hopes dashed and public perception and confidence in their government eroded. We must remember that putting citizens’ interest first and operating in a people-centered manner is critical to success.
Finally, we wish to recommend the followings:
- That the President musters the necessary political will and decisively act against allegedly corrupt officials and those implicated in scandals, such as that which was reported by Ministry of Finance and Development Planning few days ago.
- That the Legislature effectively performs its oversight responsibility in ensuring that public officials, including themselves, act with increased levels of integrity and transparency
- That the LACC and other integrity institutions be fully supported, morally and financially, to enable them effectively operate. Continuous downplaying of reports and recommendations from these integrity institutions must stop if we must win the war against corruption. These institutions (GAC, LACC, PPCC and etc.) must also do more to uphold public trust and confidence repose in them as leaders of government’s integrity building and anti-corruption efforts in the country
- The international community must exert the necessary pressure on the Liberian government to do more in addressing impunity, which is largely responsible for government’s failure in addressing corruption in the country
- The media, civil society, citizens and other stakeholders must remain engaged with the fight against corruption by investigating and reporting scandals and misdeeds of public officials and others managing public resources in the country
The Corruption Perception Index (CPI) was established in 1995 as a composite indicator used to measure perceptions of corruption in the public sector in different countries and territories around the world. CPI scores and ranks countries based on how Corrupt their public sectors are perceived; it is the most widely used indicator of corruption worldwide. The score ranges from 0 to 100, where 0 equals the highest level of perceived corruption, while 100 equals lowest level of perceived corruption. Countries and territories scoring below 50 means they are performing poorly in the fight against corruption.
This year, 176 countries and territories are included in the index, eight (8) more than in 2015. Findings of the research show that corruption still remains a major challenge globally and that countries need to do more to entrench integrity and accountability. The biggest improvers this year include Belarus, Georgia, Argentina, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, and etc., while the biggest decliners include Djibouti, Lesotho, Mozambique, Ghana and countries from other continents and regions.
Acting Executive Director