MONROVIA-Tiawan Saye Gongloe named corruption, mainly in the public sector as one of the main reasons responsible for the backwardness of Liberia and its citizens. Gongloe argued that corruption has become so embedded in Liberia that if he is elected president of Liberia, it will have a rough and uncomfortable ride.
Speaking to a cross-section of partisans of the Liberian People’s Party in the port city of Buchanan in Grand Bassa County recently, Cllr. Gongloe named corruption, mainly in the public sector as one of the main reasons responsible for the backwardness of Liberia and its citizens.
According to him, the main cause of Liberia’s underdevelopment is due, in large part, to the collective failure of Liberians to work for, demand, and make the necessary hard choices and sacrifices for good governance.
Cllr. Gongloe argued corruption has become so embedded in Liberia. He declared corruption a threat to national security, arguing that it was crippling the economic and social development of the country.
Corruption in Liberia occurred through the diversion of public funds, irregular payments, unauthorized expenditures, staff fraud, and bribery denying the citizenry crucial services like access to affordable healthcare, employment, and affordable education for the country’s young ones, etc.
But Liberia has found its saving grace in a new model that Cllr Gongloe is proposing which is quarterly Lifestyle Audits for the public employees which involve an intensive probe into their lifestyles in order to detect sudden and suspicious affluence that may suggest fraud.
According to Cllr. Gongloe, the salaries, and benefits of the President and all officials of the government in the three branches of government shall be published, and that any official of the government that interferes with the functions of the police or any law enforcement officer shall, upon summary fact-finding, be immediately dismissed.
Cllr. Gongloe argued that the chronic deficit of leadership characterized by greed, a thirst for illicit wealth, and self-interest, as opposed to the welfare of the nation, is a significant factor in the current state of Liberia.
Lifestyle audits in Liberia as proposed by presidential aspirant Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe will tell us who in the public service has eaten what, who continues to eat, who is likely to eat, and what they like eating.
Lifestyle audits are also about conspicuous consumption reflected in expenditures of expensive capitalist toys, travel, residential housing, skyscrapers, charity and philanthropy, investing abroad, food and booze, and day-to-day expenses incurred in carrying out a particular lifestyle.
The audit seeks to find out where the money to sustain such lifestyles comes from. If it is found that it comes from raiding and stealing of public resources, that is, blatant corruption then the public officer is criminally liable. One critical value in the Constitution and the statutes enumerated here is the participation of the people.
If we are serious about fighting corruption in our country, we have to take Gongloe’s proposals seriously and got to borrow a leaf from Kenya and South Africa.
When that is done and properties gotten illegally are confiscated, the trust that exists between the masses and our leaders will improve. Corruption hinders the ability of the state to provide a better life for all its citizens and robs communities of water to drink, shelter for their families, the supply of textbooks for pupils, medical supplies to save lives, job-creating opportunities, and other basic necessities needed to live a life of prosperity.
We must wage a fierce and fearless battle against this demon of corruption and remove it from the public service. Lifestyle audits are a powerful tool that will aid us in this fight and will put Liberia on a democratic trajectory of accountability and transparency in our politics.