By Reuben Sei Waylaun
The Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL) says its attention has been drawn to an article published in the Tuesday August 25, 2020 online and print editions of Frontpage Africa newspaper which communicated the result of the 10thedition of the Global Corruption Barometer (GCB).
As a national chapter of Transparency International (TI), CENTAL says it has the duty to protect the global coalition against actions tending to undermine its credibility and even more likely to mislead the public.
“Published under the banner ‘Liberia Less Corrupt Under Weah’ the article makes several assertions including: that the Global Corruption Barometer 2019 is a ‘new’ report and that said report shows that corruption in Liberia was ‘minimized in 2019 compared to its soaring heights in 2015, when Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was President’ and that quoting the Assistant Secretary General of the Unity Party, the Corruption Perception Index is the premier and most credible of Transparency International Survey on corruption worldwide because it is a composite index reflecting the result of 13 different reputable surveys’. We believe that addressing the above assertions are fundamental to having a fair appreciation of the GCB 2019 and CPI and would now, therefore, elaborate on both,” CENTAL said in a statement issued Wednesday August 26, 2020.
According to the integrity organization, the 10thedition of the GCB was officially released by Transparency International in July 2019.
In a statement read by CENTAL’s Executive Director, Anderson Miamen, he says the organization communicated the results of the GCB to the Liberian public on July 11, 2019 through a press conference and community engagements in the New Kru Town and Old Road communities.
“Considering the report new after a year of its release is likely to impress upon the public a high degree of recency. Such position of FPA, we believe, could be simply justified by the slightest indication of the GCB’s date of publication-thus affording readers the opportunity to weigh-in on the newness of the report,” the statement added.
The statement added “We have observed that the report is being used to draw parallels between the administrations of President George Weah and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. While we appreciate the use of the report in highlighting corruption and its trends in Liberia, we think it’s important that any further analysis is based on careful and reading of methodological approaches to the study.”
“For the 2019 GCB report, Transparency International partnered with Afrobarometer and Omega Research which spoke to 47,105 respondents across 35 countries in Africa on their perceptions about corruption and direct experiences with bribery. The survey across the continent took place between September 2016 and September 2018. In Liberia, 1,200 respondents were targeted between June 2016 and July 2018,” the statement further added.
The statement further said “Considering that the Ellen’s administration steered national affairs during the period covering June 2016 to January 2018 (i.e. one year and six months of survey period), and that the Weah’s administration assumed the helm of leadership between January to July 2018 (i.e. six months of the survey period), it is only fair to acknowledge that the results of the GCB report cover administration, especially the previous government that had one year six months of its time covered, compared to just six months of the current government. Using the report to draw comparison between both administrations, therefore, only serves to misrepresent the facts-something likely to undermine over two years of painstaking research and as well impact negatively upon the image of Transparency International.”
“We wish to clarify that Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) and Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) are all credible reports and indicators of corruption worldwide, despite some differences in methodology and focus,” CENTAL added.
According to the organization, CPI is a composite study that focuses on public sector corruption and draws it findings from available credible sources, based on expert opinions.
It says the GCB samples the views of ordinary citizens and direct victims about their experiences regarding corruption and focuses on all sectors of society, including government, media, civil society and religious institutions.
“Irrespective of their focus, findings and periods of coverage, both reports are credible and can be used to inform discussions and decisions bordering on governance, accountability and transparency issues, especially in Liberia,” CENTAL further added.
Meanwhile, CENTAL is urging FPA to make necessary editorial corrections to the publication in question.