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Liberian Government Takes Exception to Auditor General's Corruption Claims

Liberia’s new auditor general, John Morlu the Second, Tuesday told VOA that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s government is three times more corrupt than that of the previous transitional government of Gyude Bryant. The auditor general also said some government ministers and directors of agencies were resisting efforts to audit their departments.

Now, Liberia’s information Minister Lawrence Bropleh told VOA English that President Sirleaf takes exception to the auditor general’s comments.

“The government welcomes constructive criticism, especially from the auditor general. This government has declared corruption as a number one enemy. What this government is taken aback by is to have the auditor general in the absence of not auditing any arm of this government, no comparative analysis between the previous transitional government of Gyude Bryant and this government to make a statement that says that the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf government is three times more corrupt than the Gyude Bryant government, I think it’s disappointing,” he said.

Bropleh also rejected the auditor general’s comments that ministers and directors of government agencies have also been putting roadblocks in the way of auditors.

“To my knowledge, this auditor general has not sent a request to any government ministry or agency asking for an audit and has been denied that. That has not come to the president’s attention; that has not come to my attention. So how can he say that the government is the stumbling block for him carrying on his task?” Bropleh said.

He said upon taken over more than two months ago, the auditor general recalled all auditors from the various government ministries and agencies, and he has yet to send them back in the field to conduct any audit.

Bropleh does not deny the auditor general’s claims that corruption is rampant in the Sirleaf government. But he said President Sirleaf has made the fight against corruption her priority.

“The president has always said that corruption is a part of our culture. Corruption is part of this government because this government is a combination of persons who have worked in previous governments. Old habits die-hard. The president has said that she is going to move people from this government who are corrupt, and she’s done that. Next week she will be reshuffling people and dismissing some people. So we have declared that corruption is public enemy number one,” Bropleh said.

Bropleh said President Sirleaf takes exception to the auditor general’s statements because he said the auditor general has yet to audit a single government ministry or agency. He said it is not right for an auditor to make such blanket statements without having the facts to back them up.