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Liberian Diaspora to Protest Corruption at UN Meeting

  • James Butty

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf addresses the 67th session of the UN General Assembly

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf addresses the 67th session of the UN General Assembly

The 68th UN General Assembly opens Tuesday in New York City. Among African leaders listed to speak is Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

But, she will be greeted by members of the Liberian Diaspora who will be protesting against what they say is her failure to fight corruption and impunity.

The protest is being organized by two groups -- Concerned Liberians against Corruption and Impunity (CLACI) and the Movement of Liberians Against Corruption (MOLAC).

The organizers say Sirleaf who, soon after taking office, declared corruption Public Enemy Number One, has failed to deal with it.

According to Transparency International’s 2013 Global Corruption Barometer, Liberia ranked number-one in the world.

The government established the Anti-Corruption Commission. But, Tarloh Quiwonkpa, a member of the Movement of Liberians against Corruption, said Sirleaf has paid lip service to the fight against graft.

“Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf coming to America at this time, with corruption being at its peak in Liberia and on the international front, we will express our concerns to the United Nations and let them know that she needs to step down because she has not lived up to the oath of office that she took when she was inaugurated. She is extremely disconnected from out people. The corruption numbers are there, and we need something done so that the money that the international community continues to invest in our country can reach our people in the villages,” she said.

The Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission was established in August 2008 to “directly investigate and recommend for prosecution all acts of corruption in all sectors of government, including the private sector, and to institute measures aimed at eradicating the practice and its impact.”

But, the commission’s chairperson, Frances Johnson Morris, once complained about the failure of her organization to prosecute those accused of plundering the financial wealth of the country.

She accused judges of refusing to prosecute those the commission found liable of committing various crimes, including the “massive misapplication of entrusted funds and properties.”

Quiwonkpa said Sirleaf has paid lip service to the fight against corruption.
“The thing is, when you play lip service by establishing special presidential committees to fight corruption and you don’t do anything with the findings, it’s lip service. In the history of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, there have been eight different presidential committees. These Liberian scholars went to work and investigated the corrupt practices and came up with their findings. What has Madam Johnson Sirleaf done with that? She hasn’t done anything. All she does is circulate these officials, give them new positions and turn a deaf ear to our people’s needs. We need these people prosecuted,” Quiwonkpa said.

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