"Liberian Government cannot account for over US$50 million"


I’ll Quit If…

Festus Poquie

Auditor General of Liberia Morlu Challenges Govt.

Auditor General, Mr. John Morlu: “Liberian Government cannot account for over US$50 million, which his reports indicated was expended without supporting documentations”.

The Auditor General, Mr. John Morlu, says he is prepared to resign if the Government is prepared to hire international auditors to prove that his findings on unaccounted for millions at the various ministries he has audited in compliance with the HIPC (Heavily Indebted poor countries) requirement are wrong.

His vow to step down should the government account via independent international audits for millions it has allegedly misappropriated follows series of counter-claims from officials, with the President declaring that she needed more evidence to act on the audits.

In an interview with this paper, the Auditor General said the government cannot account for over US$50 million, which his reports indicated was expended without supporting documentations.

“If the Government of Liberia can account, I resign; they cannot account,” Mr. Morlu said, noting that impunity was at its peak with corruption being jealously protected and corrupt officials bribing to avoid prosecution.

On the aggregate, he said that the government is not transparent and accountable.

“. The truth is that if the Government of Liberia, if they can account for the 3m General Claims that they reportedly spent, if they can account for the 21m that was reported in 2006/2007; 2007/2008, we are talking about almost US$ 50m plus. If they can account for that, I will resign and I will ask the European Union, I will pay the money back, which they have used to pay me over the years. They cannot account.”

He noted that the country is being built on a corrupt principle and that democracy will not flourish once accountability is lacking.

Mr. Morlu described as “window dressing talks” government’s Poverty Reduction Program and adaptation of international financial system noting the real issue is “accounting for public monies”.

This, he said, once done will lead to more employment and improvement in living standards. “People must get away from big talking, big mouth and do the real things”.

He said those objecting to his audit reports have failed to provide material justification for their respective transaction and have thus reverted to “blame game”.

“Have you ever seen the criminal say the policeman is a nice guy? They will always say the police are corrupt, the police are incompetent, and the police are unfair and so forth. So I do not expect the auditees to praise me. In fact, if they begin to praise me, then I will quit. I do my work; I do it based on INTOSAI standards; nobody throughout their entire arguments, their press releases, their press conferences, I have not seen anybody substantially argued against the facts. All they are saying is yes, we did it but blame the system, blame this person, blame that person.

It is nothing but a blame game so I cannot get involve in that I know, the audits stand on the merits and the best standards and that my reports are constitutional documents and they live on for 20 years or 100 years, whether somebody act on it today, somebody will act on it tomorrow because in Ghana, Argentina, in Guinea and other countries, audit reports have languished for years.

“Corruption is being protected. It is the foundation upon which this country was built that people believe that the best way to get rich, the most quickest and surest way to prosperity is government job. It is a fundamental believe in this country, it has to change. Other than that, you are building a democracy on a corrupt foundation and corruption fails.

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