MONROVIA-One of Liberia’s torch-bearers in democracy, the National Youth Movement for Transparent Elections (NAYMOTE), is demanding President George M. Weah to report to the public on the status of special committees he previously established to investigate or address issues of national concerns.
NAYMOTE has tracked 14 committees mandated by President George Weah, between 2018 and 2022, to perform special functions, including investigations into alleged acts of corruption.
According to NAYMOTE’s Executive Director, Eddie Jarwolo the special committees’ investigations were those bordering on corruption allegations and addressing service delivery challenges.
Mr. Jarwolo said special presidential committees are intended to perform special tasks or conduct special investigations and report back within a reasonable time frame, but nothing can be heard about the various committee constituted by the Liberian Leader.
“In essence, they perform functions which the traditional bureaucracy might take longer or might not have the expertise to perform. Therefore, the public expects high-quality deliverables and integrity in the conduct of the work of special presidential committees” NAYMOTE Executive Director asserted.
However, Mr. Jarwolo notes that only three of the 14 committees established so far have publicly reported or executed their mandates, while the status of the work of the remaining twelve remains largely unknown.
He said perhaps the reasons could be the remaining twelve reports were not made public, or they did not perform their functions.
Jarwolo named the three special committees whose reports were made public as the Special Presidential Task Force to “retrieve all government-owned vehicles” in the possession of former government officials, established on February 26, 2018.
The committee reviewing allegations made by Global Witness in its reports concerning the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL), established in April 2018 and Committee to recruit two Deputy Auditor Generals of the General Auditing Commission (Deputy Auditor General for Audit Services and Deputy Auditor General for Administration), and the Director General of the Internal Audit Agency, established in October 2021.
Speaking at a news conference over the weekend at NAYMOTE Head Offices on the Monrovia – Robertsfield Highway, Jarwolo pointed out some of the remaining special presidential committees that reports are yet to be made public, do not augur for the government and its people.
Among them, he named the committee on market maintenance, established in July 2021, a committee to evaluate all concessions, management and other agreements/contracts, currently in force in Liberia, executed by and between the Government of Liberia and concessionaires, managers, partners and investors, the national steering committee to provide oversight to the COVID-19 Household Food Support Program and committee to probe a petition presented by members of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) on allegations of harassment and violence meted out against journalists, established in March 2020.
The NAYMOTE Boss further named other committees as committee to investigate waves of death in Liberia amongst public servants, particularly in Monrovia and its environs, including the mysterious deaths of two employees of the Liberia Revenue Authority and the former Director General of the Internal Audit Agency, established on October 12, 2020 and headed by the Ministry of Justice.
Jarwolo mentioned other committees, as Nimba County Conflict Resolution Committee on the land conflict established on May 13, 2021 and chaired by the Minister of Internal Affairs, the National Bicentennial Steering Committee to plan and execute appropriate activities to commemorate the Bicentennial Celebration, established in August 2021 as well as National Bicentennial Sub-Committees, established on Saturday, October 30, 2021, Steering Committee (SC) of Special Economic Zones including the May 10, 2022, President Weah mandated the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dee-Maxwell Kemayah, to investigate circumstances leading to the issuance of Liberia’s Diplomatic passport to Mr. Sheik Bassirou Kante, who was recently arrested in the United States on allegations of fraud and report.
“NAYMOTE believes that special committees are an important part of the governance process and facilitate service delivery and accountability mechanisms. It is therefore important that the government ensures that functions of the traditional bureaucracy occasionally outsourced to special committees are speedily implemented and reports on their activities are made publicly available”,. Jarwolo emphasized.
He narrated that this is important not only for the effective functioning of the government but also in deepening trust between the government and the citizens and strengthening the social contract which mandates the government to act on behalf of the people.
Jarwolo said with this, he is calling the Liberian Leaders to ensure the timely release of the reports of these presidential committees where they are available and prevail on those that are yet to deliver on their mandate or report on their work to do so in the interest of the public.
He stated that his entity believes for the government to be accountable to the people must be aware of what is happening in the country so it is important that the press and the people are able to get information about the statutes of the various committees’ setup by the President in a timely manner.
By: Jonathan O. Grigsby, Snr. – Contributor