Coalition for Transparency and Accountability in Education (COTAE) comprises five (5) organizations. CENTAL
Operating as usual
The Right to Education must be advocated for especially to have an improved and supportive education sector for all.
In continuation of the implementation of activities under the Abidjan Principles and Right to Education, a project funded by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), the Coalition for Transparency and Accountability in Education (COTAE) held a one-day Education Dialogue for stakeholders in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County on May 21, 2021, at the Hotel Buchanan conference hall.
Specific objectives of the dialogue are:
✔️To popularize the Abidjan Principles among key stakeholders to enable them to advocate for and monitor its full implementation in Liberia;
✔️To mobilize stakeholders’ support to promote and defend the Right to good quality, inclusive, accessible, and gender-sensitive and responsive education in Liberia;
✔️And to facilitate information sharing and coordination among education stakeholders on right to education issues, especially financing of the sector as regulation of the involvement of private actors in education in Liberia.
Serving as panelists were:
👉🏾Mr. Moses B. K. Saywaye, Grand Bassa County School Board;
👉🏾Madam Magdalene G. Harris, former Senatorial Candidate, Grand Bassa County;
👉🏾Madam Rosina Cole: District Education Officer, District 3, Grand Bassa County;
👉🏾Mr. Bailey K.M. Togba, Chairman, Grand Bassa County Civil Society County.
Thanks to OSIWA for supporting the education sector.
In continuation of implementation activities under the Abidjan Principles and the Right to Education project funded by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), the Coalition for Transparency and Accountability in Education (COTAE) yesterday, May 20, 2021, held a one-day training workshop in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.
The training workshop brought together twenty-five (25) participants comprising of the Media and Civil Society Organizations.
Key objectives of the training were:
👉🏾To increase the technical capacity of the Media and Civil Society Actors to advocate for the Government of Liberia to adequately fund public education and regulate the involvement of private and for-profit actors in the Liberian Education Sector;
👉🏾To popularize the Abidjan Principles among key stakeholders (media and civil society actors) to enable them to advocate for and monitor its full implementation in Liberia;
👉🏾And to mobilize participant’s support to promote and defend the Right to good, quality, accessible and gender-sensitive, and responsive Education in Liberia.
Special thanks to the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) for funding this initiative.
We remain committed to advocating for a better education sector.
COTAE holds a One-Day Education Dialogue with stakeholders on the Abidjan Principles and Right to Education in Liberia.
Venue: Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.
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The Government of Liberia has been urged to ensure that public education is made inclusive, accessible, and affordable as well as gender sensitive and responsive in the best interest of the people of Liberia rather than privatization of the sector.
A two-day training workshop brought Media Institutions and Civil Society Organizations to increase their knowledge about the Abidjan Principles and key issues related to fulfillment of the right to education in Liberia.
Anderson Miamen, National Coordinator of the Coalition for Transparency and Accountability in Education (COTAE) said the right to education is a fundamental human right guaranteed under different international, regional and national framework documents, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the African Chapter on Human People’s Rights, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) and the Constitution of Liberia.
He also said the Government of Liberia should ensure that education, especially public education is affordably provided to every citizen irrespective of tribe, location, economic status, s*x, gender, and religion on an equal basis with similar qualities and standards as any private school or even better.
Also facilitating the training sessions were: Mr. Alton V. Kessselly, Deputy Minister for Planning & Research, Ministry of Education; Madam Lakshmi Moore, Country Director, Action Aid Liberia and Mr. Adama Dempster, coordinator, Civil Society Human Right Platform of Liberia.
Special thanks to the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) for funding this training session.
On yesterday October 21, 2020, the More for Education Coalition through the 𝐼𝑚𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑣𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝐸𝑑𝑢𝑐𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑇ℎ𝑟𝑜𝑢𝑔ℎ 𝐷𝑒𝑚𝑜𝑐𝑟𝑎𝑐𝑦 𝑃𝑟𝑜𝑗𝑒𝑐𝑡 supported by the Liberia Accountability and Voice Initiative (LAVI) with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) held a One-Day 𝑷𝒐𝒍𝒊𝒄𝒚 𝑫𝒊𝒂𝒍𝒐𝒈𝒖𝒆 on 𝗔𝗟𝗧𝗘𝗥𝗡𝗔𝗧𝖨𝗩𝗘 𝗗𝖮𝗠𝗘𝗦𝗧𝖨𝗖 𝗥𝗘𝗦𝖮𝗨𝗥𝗖𝗘 𝗠𝖮𝗕𝖨𝗟𝖨𝗭𝗔𝗧𝖨𝖮𝗡 𝗙𝖮𝗥 𝗘𝗗𝗨𝗖𝗔𝗧𝖨𝖮𝗡.
The meeting brought together stakeholders from the Legislature, the Ministry of Education, Partners of the More 4 Education Coalition, the media, and representation of the student body.
Education is the most powerful weapon which can be used to change the world; so, the sector needs more resources to effectively and efficiently perform by providing the required high quality, inclusive and gender responsive education to the public.
We are saddened by the decrease in support to education in the 2020/2021 national budget. One of the major factors attributed to the decrease is the Pandemic. Nevertheless, we are resolved to continue advocating for More Resources to Education.
Special thanks to USAID/ LAVI for their support towards this endeavor; and also to the Coalition Partners: YOCEL, IDI, UMOVEMENT, HOPE, NTAL, & NAPTANOL for their relentless efforts toward the Advocacy. And thanks to the Legislature, Ministry of Education, and other actors that have been engaged with the process.
𝖶𝖾 𝖺𝗋𝖾 𝖽𝖾𝖾𝗉𝗅𝗒 𝗍𝗋𝗈𝗎𝖻𝗅𝖾𝖽 𝖻𝗒 𝗍𝗁𝖾 𝗎𝗇𝖽𝖾𝗋𝖿𝗂𝗇𝖺𝗇𝖼𝗂𝗇𝗀 𝗈𝖿 𝖾𝖽𝗎𝖼𝖺𝗍𝗂𝗈𝗇 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝗍𝗁𝖾 𝗆𝖺𝗇𝗒 𝖼𝗁𝖺𝗅𝗅𝖾𝗇𝗀𝖾𝗌 𝗍𝗁𝖾 𝗌𝖾𝖼𝗍𝗈𝗋 𝖿𝖺𝖼𝖾𝗌. 𝖥𝗋𝗈𝗆 𝖺𝗅𝗅 𝗂𝗇𝖽𝗂𝖼𝖺𝗍𝗂𝗈𝗇𝗌, 𝗍𝗁𝖾 𝗅𝖾𝖺𝖽𝖾𝗋𝗌𝗁𝗂𝗉 𝗈𝖿 𝗍𝗁𝖾 𝖼𝗈𝗎𝗇𝗍𝗋𝗒, 𝖾𝗌𝗉𝖾𝖼𝗂𝖺𝗅𝗅𝗒 𝗍𝗁𝖾 𝖯𝗋𝖾𝗌𝗂𝖽𝖾𝗇𝖼𝗒 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝖫𝖾𝗀𝗂𝗌𝗅𝖺𝗍𝗎𝗋𝖾 𝗇𝖾𝖾𝖽 𝗍𝗈 𝖼𝗈𝗇𝗌𝗈𝗅𝗂𝖽𝖺𝗍𝖾 𝖾𝖿𝖿𝗈𝗋𝗍𝗌 𝗍𝗈 𝖺𝖽𝖾𝗊𝗎𝖺𝗍𝖾𝗅𝗒 𝖿𝗎𝗇𝖽 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝗋𝖾𝗏𝗈𝗅𝗎𝗍𝗂𝗈𝗇𝗂𝗓𝖾 𝖾𝖽𝗎𝖼𝖺𝗍𝗂𝗈𝗇 𝗂𝗇 𝖫𝗂𝖻𝖾𝗋𝗂𝖺.
𝖮𝖿 𝗋𝖾𝖼𝖾𝗇𝗍, 𝖲𝗂𝖾𝗋𝗋𝖺 𝖫𝖾𝗈𝗇𝖾 𝖺𝗅𝗅𝗈𝖼𝖺𝗍𝖾𝖽 𝟤𝟨% 𝗍𝗈 𝖾𝖽𝗎𝖼𝖺𝗍𝗂𝗈𝗇, 𝗐𝗁𝗂𝗅𝖾 𝖦𝗁𝖺𝗇𝖺 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝖲𝖾𝗇𝖾𝗀𝖺𝗅 𝗂𝗇𝗏𝖾𝗌𝗍𝖾𝖽 𝟥𝟧% 𝗈𝖿 𝗍𝗁𝖾𝗂𝗋 𝖻𝗎𝖽𝗀𝖾𝗍𝗌 𝗍𝗈 𝖾𝖽𝗎𝖼𝖺𝗍𝗂𝗈𝗇. 𝖬𝗈𝗌𝗍 𝗈𝖿 𝗍𝗁𝖾𝗌𝖾 𝖼𝗈𝗎𝗇𝗍𝗋𝗂𝖾𝗌 𝖺𝗋𝖾 𝗌𝗂𝗀𝗇𝖺𝗍𝗈𝗋𝗂𝖾𝗌 𝗍𝗈 𝗂𝗇𝗍𝖾𝗋𝗇𝖺𝗍𝗂𝗈𝗇𝖺𝗅 𝖿𝗋𝖺𝗆𝖾𝗐𝗈𝗋𝗄𝗌 𝗍𝗁𝖺𝗍 𝖼𝖺𝗅𝗅 𝖿𝗈𝗋 𝖺 𝗆𝗂𝗇𝗂𝗆𝗎𝗆 𝗈𝖿 𝟤𝟢% 𝗍𝗈 𝖻𝖾 𝖺𝗅𝗅𝗈𝖼𝖺𝗍𝖾𝖽 𝗍𝗈 𝗍𝗁𝖾 𝖤𝖽𝗎𝖼𝖺𝗍𝗂𝗈𝗇 𝗌𝖾𝖼𝗍𝗈𝗋 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝖫𝗂𝖻𝖾𝗋𝗂𝖺 𝗂𝗌 𝗈𝖿 𝗇𝗈 𝖾𝗑𝖼𝖾𝗉𝗍𝗂𝗈𝗇 𝗍𝗈 𝗍𝗁𝖾𝗌𝖾 𝖿𝗋𝖺𝗆𝖾𝗐𝗈𝗋𝗄𝗌. 𝖬𝗎𝖼𝗁 𝗇𝖾𝖾𝖽𝗌 𝗍𝗈 𝖻𝖾 𝖽𝗈𝗇𝖾 𝗍𝗈 𝗋𝖾𝗌𝗎𝗌𝖼𝗂𝗍𝖺𝗍𝖾 𝗍𝗁𝖾 𝗌𝖾𝖼𝗍𝗈𝗋 𝖻𝗒 𝖺𝗅𝗅𝗈𝗍𝗍𝗂𝗇𝗀 𝗆𝗈𝗋𝖾 𝗍𝗈 𝖤𝖽𝗎𝖼𝖺𝗍𝗂𝗈𝗇, 𝗌𝗍𝗋𝗈𝗇𝗀 𝗆𝗈𝗇𝗂𝗍𝗈𝗋𝗂𝗇𝗀 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝖾𝗏𝖺𝗅𝗎𝖺𝗍𝗂𝗈𝗇, 𝗂𝗇𝖼𝗅𝗎𝗌𝗂𝗏𝖾𝗇𝖾𝗌𝗌 (𝗉𝗁𝗒𝗌𝗂𝖼𝖺𝗅𝗅𝗒 𝖼𝗁𝖺𝗅𝗅𝖾𝗇𝗀𝖾𝖽), 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝗈𝗍𝗁𝖾𝗋𝗌. 𝖦𝗁𝖺𝗇𝖺, 𝖲𝗂𝖾𝗋𝗋𝖺 𝖫𝖾𝗈𝗇𝖾, 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝗈𝗍𝗁𝖾𝗋𝗌 𝖺𝗋𝖾 𝗍𝖾𝗌𝗍𝗂𝗆𝗈𝗇𝗂𝖾𝗌 𝗍𝗈 𝗍𝗁𝖾 𝟤𝟢% 𝗆𝗂𝗇𝗂𝗆𝗎𝗆 𝖻𝖾𝗇𝖼𝗁𝗆𝖺𝗋𝗄, 𝗍𝗁𝖾𝗋𝖾𝖿𝗈𝗋𝖾 𝗐𝖾 𝗆𝗎𝗌𝗍 𝖽𝗈 𝖺𝗅𝗅 𝗂𝗇 𝗈𝗎𝗋 𝗉𝗈𝗐𝖾𝗋𝗌 𝗍𝗈 𝗋𝖾𝖺𝖼𝗁 𝗍𝗁𝗂𝗌 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝖾𝗏𝖾𝗇 𝖻𝖾𝗒𝗈𝗇𝖽. 𝖶𝖾 𝖺𝗋𝖾 𝖼𝗈𝗀𝗇𝗂𝗓𝖺𝗇𝗍 𝗈𝖿 𝗍𝗁𝖾 𝖿𝖺𝖼𝗍 𝗍𝗁𝖺𝗍 𝗈𝗍𝗁𝖾𝗋 𝗌𝖾𝖼𝗍𝗈𝗋𝗌 𝗆𝖺𝗍𝗍𝖾𝗋; 𝖿𝗈𝗋 𝖾𝗑𝖺𝗆𝗉𝗅𝖾, 𝖧𝖾𝖺𝗅𝗍𝗁, 𝖠𝗀𝗋𝗂𝖼𝗎𝗅𝗍𝗎𝗋𝖾, 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝗈𝗍𝗁𝖾𝗋𝗌 𝖻𝗎𝗍 𝗍𝗁𝖾 𝖻𝖾𝖽𝗋𝗈𝖼𝗄 𝗍𝗈 𝖺𝗅𝗅 𝗈𝖿 𝗍𝗁𝖾𝗌𝖾 𝗂𝗌 𝖤𝖽𝗎𝖼𝖺𝗍𝗂𝗈𝗇, 𝗐𝗁𝖾𝗍𝗁𝖾𝗋 𝖿𝗈𝗋𝗆𝖺𝗅 𝗈𝗋 𝗂𝗇𝖿𝗈𝗋𝗆𝖺𝗅. 𝖳𝗁𝖺𝗍 𝗂𝗌 𝗐𝗁𝗒 𝗐𝖾 𝗆𝗎𝗌𝗍 𝖼𝗈𝗇𝗌𝗈𝗅𝗂𝖽𝖺𝗍𝖾 𝖾𝖿𝖿𝗈𝗋𝗍𝗌 𝗂𝗇 𝖺𝖽𝗏𝗈𝖼𝖺𝗍𝗂𝗇𝗀 𝖿𝗈𝗋 𝗆𝗈𝗋𝖾 𝗍𝗈 𝖤𝖽𝗎𝖼𝖺𝗍𝗂𝗈𝗇.
𝗐𝖾 𝖺𝗋𝖾 𝖾𝖺𝗋𝗇𝖾𝗌𝗍𝗅𝗒 𝖼𝖺𝗅𝗅𝗂𝗇𝗀 𝗈𝗇 𝗍𝗁𝖾 𝗀𝗈𝗏𝖾𝗋𝗇𝗆𝖾𝗇𝗍 𝗍𝗈 𝗌𝖾𝖾 𝗋𝖾𝖺𝗌𝗈𝗇𝗌 𝗍𝗈 𝗶𝗻𝗰𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗲 𝗍𝗁𝖾 𝖤𝖽𝗎𝖼𝖺𝗍𝗂𝗈𝗇 𝖻𝗎𝖽𝗀𝖾𝗍 𝖻𝖾𝖿𝗈𝗋𝖾 𝗍𝗁𝖾 𝖿𝗂𝗇𝖺𝗅 𝗉𝖺𝗌𝗌𝖺𝗀𝖾 𝗈𝖿 𝗍𝗁𝖾 𝖭𝖺𝗍𝗂𝗈𝗇𝖺𝗅 𝖡𝗎𝖽𝗀𝖾𝗍 𝖿𝗈𝗋 𝖥𝖸 𝟤𝟢𝟤𝟢/𝟤𝟢𝟤𝟣.
Coalition for Transparency and Accountability in Education - COTAE
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[Press Statement for Immediate Release]
July 9, 2020; 11:30 AM
COTAE is concerned over discrepancies in compliance with guidelines by reopened schools amid increasing cases of COVID19.
[Press Statment for Immediate Release]
July 8, 2020; 11:30 AM
Ref.: COTAE is concerned about the fate of the Education Sector
COTAE raises awareness on COVID-19 and More 4 Education.
Continuation of Power Exchange July 1, 2020
-Press Statement for immediate release-
[COTAE issue Statement on COVID-19 Response]
𝑱𝒐𝒊𝒏𝒕 𝑷𝒓𝒆𝒔𝒔 𝑺𝒕𝒂𝒕𝒆𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒕 𝒇𝒐𝒓 𝑰𝒎𝒎𝒆𝒅𝒊𝒂𝒕𝒆 𝑹𝒆𝒍𝒆𝒂𝒔𝒆
(Monrovia, 8 June 2020).
Recent media reports and complaints about Bad Labor Practices at Bridge International Academies (BIA) have claimed the attention of the Coalition for Transparency and Accountability in Education (COTAE) and the National Teachers Association of Liberia (NTAL). BIA is a controversial for-profit company and a major actor involved with the outsourcing of public schools under the Liberia Educational Advancement Program (LEAP), formerly Partnership Schools for Liberia (PSL). They have received government funding to run 170 schools as part of LEAP.
Information published last week alleges that staff salaries in the company were reduced by 80-90 percent, while employees still work from home, which totally contravenes the Labor Ministry’s COVID-19 Preparedness Guide for Workplaces. The article also alleges poor labor conditions and illegal dismissal and suspension among other issues, and the Ministry of Labor announced on 25 May opening an inquiry about these concerns. We wish to applaud the Ministry for launching an independent investigation into these reported excesses, which have characterized BIA’s operation since 2016. Also, we wish to express our solidarity with former and current BIA staffs who are mustering the courage to speak out against unfavorable treatments they are being subjected to by the company.
BIA’s involvement in Liberia has been debated since the outset, as the company initially intended to singlehandedly take over all public primary schools in the country, which generated local, regional and global outcries, including from civil society organizations, teachers, parents, and the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to education. In 2017, an independent evaluation commissioned by the Liberian Government further raised concerns by showing that the company’s cost was very high, while not delivering results at the level of this cost, and that it expelled children and teachers. The American company also operates in Kenya and Uganda, where it has similarly been denounced for its poor labor practices and lack of respect for the rule of law, which led a group of Kenyan citizens to lodge a complaint with the World Bank’s accountability body: Compliance Advisory Ombudsman (CAO) in 2018.
This latest development validates longstanding stakeholders’ concerns about the dangers of outsourcing public schools to a group whose foremast interest is profit and not the fulfillment and protection of the right to education of all children/students, as provided for by the Abidjan Principles on the right to education, the Sustainable Development Goal 4, Article 6 of the 1986 Liberian constitution, and other international and regional frameworks. It is disturbing that, while other companies are finding ways to address the plights of their workers, especially during COVID-19, which has affected all facts of society, BIA will choose to, among other things “cut the salaries of its essential staff by over 80%”, as complained to the Ministry of Labor by some employees.
We call on the Ministry of education to terminate its partnership with BIA, as it is causing more harm for the sector than good. A company that priorities profit over quality and fulfillment of the right to education of all Liberian children should have no place in the Liberian Education sector. Anything to the contrary will suggest that MOE sanctions poor treatment of Liberians by BIA and its largely profit-oriented operation in the country, which is at the expense of the already struggling education sector of Liberia.
Also, we call on the Ministry of Education to ensure that its current and future policies and programs meet human rights standards, including the recently adopted Abidjan Principles on the right to education. The Abidjan Principles require that the Government focuses on strengthening public education, and should a partnership be developed, it must be done without commercial actors and in accordance with the rule of law.
Finally, we call on the public (parents, students, teachers, journalists, civil society actors and other groups) to independently monitor and timely report on respect of the right to education at all private and public schools across the country, especially those awarded to BIA and other groups making business out of public education in Liberia, thus undermining the right to education of all citizens.
COTAE and NTAL remain committed to supporting holistic and sustainable efforts to improve the Liberian Education system and not one that commercializes public education and creates more mess in the sector.
Anderson D. Miamen Mary W. Mulbah
National Coordinator National President
𝐏𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐒𝐭𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐈𝐦𝐦𝐞𝐝𝐢𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐑𝐞𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐞
𝐏𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐒𝐭𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐈𝐦𝐦𝐞𝐝𝐢𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐑𝐞𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐞
Friday, May 22, 2020
Concrete Actions, Not Lip-service: CENTAL Urges President Weah to Lead by Example in Fight Against Corruption in Liberia
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, fellow Liberians:
As Liberia battles the deadly Coronavirus, which has so far claimed 23 lives in the country, we commend government and partners for ongoing efforts and reiterate call for an inclusive, well-coordinated, and transparent COVID-19 fight. Also, we admonish the public to fully comply with all authorized relevant safety measures intended to eradicate the disease from the country.
Fellow Liberians and partners, the continuous inability of successive political administrations to sincerely tackle corruption and bad governance continues to stifle Liberia’s progress. After over fourteen (14) years of passing critical laws and establishing anti-graft institutions, it appears our leaders are yet to truly recognize Corruption as the leading cause of Liberia’s fragility, vulnerability and gross underdevelopment. Basically, all the country can boast of are multiple investigative audits, asset verification and other reports which are never timely and impartially implemented; recycling of officials at public integrity and other key institutions, some with questionable credibility and ability to lead and or serve in said positions or institutions; and largely selective prosecution of corruption cases, especially those involving persons seemingly opposed to a sitting government. An unfortunate consequence is that ordinary Liberians have resigned to frustration and have unduly gotten accustomed to the “Smell No Taste” concept, as their budgets, finances and other value resources enrich self-interest seeking politicians who assume state power under the canopy of reform, but continue with business as usual, becoming even worse than their predecessors in certain areas.
How long can this be allowed to continue? After nearly two years, the 25 million USD mop-up exercise is still being investigated, while reports into review of past concessions by the Government of Liberia is still being kept as a top secret. Also, recent investigation into discrepancies at the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC), for which a senior official was dismissed in 2020, is still a privilege document for officials of government, while reported credential discrepancies by some officials of government are grossly ignored by the leadership.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen of the Press, fellow Liberians and development partners, we will now focus our attention on two issues: the construction of multiple expensive properties by President George M. Weah; and dropping of charges against some former officials of the Central Bank of Liberia implicated in the “missing 16 billion dollars saga”.
1. Construction of Multiple and Expensive Properties by President Weah
Fellow Liberians, CENTAL is deeply concerned about the construction of multiple properties by President Weah, less than three years after assuming state power in 2018. This is extremely disturbing, as it sets a very bad example for his officials and others wishing to enter public service in Liberia. Does public service provide a magic wand to speedily transform the material conditions of public servants? Given the protracted history of corruption and bad governance in Liberia, and a weak and ineffective assets declaration regime, widespread public concerns about the sources of funding for the President’s mansions are genuine and must be addressed. Conflicting accounts from the Executive Mansion about ownership and sources of funding for the ongoing 9th Street Project is disturbing. On May 5, 2020, Deputy Presidential Press Secretary, Mr. Smith Toby claimed that the property was owned and financed by the President’s son, only to retract the statement one day after, fuelling citizens’ concerns about the use of public resources. What was he trying to conceal, then? And all this is happening when the President has decided against publishing his assets, incomes and liabilities, as was done by former President Sirleaf in 2006 and upon leaving office.
CENTAL joins the public in demanding clear information on the sources of funding for all completed and ongoing construction work by the President. We call on all relevant public integrity institutions, aided by international partners, to investigate and provide credible and timely information to the public on these constructions and how they are funded. And outcomes of such investigation must be published and fully implemented to address and or prevent any current and future misuse of public resources. We urge the President to refrain from acts that paint a gloomy picture of the Presidency and Government.
2. Dropping of Charges against Charles Sirleaf and other Central Bank Officials
On May 13, 2020, the Government of Liberia petitioned Criminal Court 'C' at the Temple of Justice to drop charges including economic sabotage, criminal conspiracy and criminal facilitation against former officials of the Central Bank of Liberia, excluding former CBL Executive Governor Milton A. Weeks. Mr. Charles Sirleaf, former Deputy Governor, Dorbor M. Hagba, Director for Finance, Mr. Richard H. Walker, Director for Operation, and Mr. Joseph Dennis, Deputy Director for Internal Audit are those taken off the hook. State prosecutors have provided the rationale that these individuals were not directly involved with the management of the Central Bank, contrary to the earlier charge that co-defendant Sirleaf, while serving as acting Bank Governor, conspired with other officials of the CBL and the co-defendants, and that their actions have the propensity to cause serious economic instability, undermine the government and cause citizens to rise up against it.
What, then, is unfolding here? Incompetence on the part of state prosecutors or a deliberate cover-up scheme under a wider pretext aimed at appeasing an unsuspecting public? All these are happening when the government has used taxpayers’ money to prosecute those concerned, assuring the public that it had the quantum of evidence required to successfully prosecute the case. What has changed since the process begun? Is the government validating former President Sirleaf’s assertion of May 2019 that her son was unjustifiably and illegally charged? Could big hands be behind such action?
Liberians deserve better than a selective fight against corruption. In the midst of millions lost to corruption in Liberia, conviction has fast become a “Taboo”, with nearly all those implicated in major scandals and glaring abuse of public trust and resources exonerated, at the expense of public interest. This is a worrisome trend that brings into question sincerity of the fight against corruption and prosecution of those accused of corruption.
More broadly, we call for a robust, impartial and people-centered fight against corruption in Liberia. The system must work for the poor and not shield and or protect those in power. The Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission, General Auditing Commission, Public Procurement and Concession Commission and other public integrity institutions must stand up to independently play their required roles. At the moment, they are somehow complicit in the poor state of the fight against corruption in Liberia.
Anderson D. Miamen
Through grant from USAID-LAVI, COTAE is partnering with seven (7) Liberian organizations to implement the More 4 Education Campaign aimed at mobilizing stakeholders’ support in advocating for at least 20% of the Liberian Budget to be allocated to the Education Sector. Since April 2018, the organization has undertaken several activities, including meetings with Legislators and members of parliament, officials of the Ministries of Education and in Finance and Development Planning emphasizing the need for adequate finical support to education in the country. Also, we are mobilizing other stakeholders’ support, students, teachers, parents, school administrators and local education officials in championing the advocacy.
The campaign comes against the backdrop that education is underfunded in Liberia, thus leading to poor learning outcomes, weak monitoring and evaluation regime, grossly inadequate instructional materials for schools as well as neglect of key local structures, including the County and District School Boards. Budgetary support to the sector averages 13% over the last 12 years, against the Global Partnership or Education (GPE)’s minimum benchmark of 20% for all countries, especially in sub-saharan African countries like Liberia.
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