In the closing years of President George Weah’s government, officials who were involved in theft of entrusted public resources would be prosecuted for economic and financial crimes, Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel Tweah said when he delivered the 171 Independence Day oration in Monrovia.
He said Weah and his Coalition for Democratic Change are faced with an interesting choice in relation to the fight against corruption, which borders on: whether the present Government should spend scarce human and financial resources on going after former Government or whether the Government should focus on the big economic problems that burden Liberians.
“It is very obvious that investing resources in preventing new acts of corruption and in the economic transformation of the country should be preferred. First, this approach minimizes the new Government’s exposure to accusations of witch-hunting,” Minister Tweah said in his July 26, oration.
“To the extent that evidence of such corruption exists, delaying these prosecutions does not prevent the demanded prosecutions from happening at some time in the future.”
A focus on past acts of corruption may be one means to restoring public faith in the credibility and possibility of Liberian Governance while another means is to use scarce public resources more effectively and efficiently to raise the living standard of the Liberian people, He added.
The Orator: No problem in Liberia is bigger than the problem of corruption! Corruption has been a root cause of the conflicts that have run through our history. This generation of Liberians and this new Government must renew its pledge to fight and end corruption. The first step toward this goal is to abolish the culture of impunity that has surrounded the misuse of public funds.
‘This means we have to give more teeth and meaning to anti-corruption institutions like the General Auditing Commission, the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission and the Internal Audit Agency. These institutions are the watchdogs that ensure we spend public resources for the benefit of all Liberians.
‘Our new President has promised that under his leadership those who misuse public funds will have no place in his Government. Such persons must face the full weight of the law. This is certainly reassuring to all our countrymen and our Development Partners who provide important resources for our national development.
‘Many Liberians have demanded an audit of the previous Government as well as the prosecution of former officials of Government accused of squandering public funds. Toward this end, the new Government must conduct a review of all audit reports with a view to implementing many of the recommendations contained in the various audit reports. The Government of President Weah has committed to conducting this review and this is encouraging.