“The President shows the way for the people to steal more, since the GAC brought up the report as President she should have read it and see if it is worth to punish those who are involved in the corrupt act but she has already started to defend them, so I think they will steal more, Ebola suffers plenty people but we leave all to God, let him judge them”, Marpu Paygar, marketer
Monrovia - Following the release of an audit conducted by the General Auditing Commission of Liberia (GAC) on funding allocated to fight the deadly Ebola virus, which reported lack of provision of documents to support expenditures and violations of the Public Procurement and Concession laws and other procedures and regulations, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, speaking to media executives on Monday defended that the emergency situation warranted decisions that ran contrary to procedures.
Said President Sirleaf: “I have not read the audit report, but I got a briefing on it, and I know that there may have been procedural errors, but I believe that if someone says they had to go and buy a bus to carry people when a hundred people are dying on the streets and they did not go through a bidding process, I will leave it to you, to say which was better for them to have bought the buses to save the lives or for them to have taken two weeks to go through the bidding process”.
But several Liberians have expressed anger over the comment from the President some describing it as permission from the President for her officials to steal more public resources.
Cecelia Yuah, who sells Banana on Buchanan Street said the President is encouraging her officials to steal more. “I think the statement by the President will encourage those in power to steal more because for me, I lost three persons to this Ebola virus, but my family has not received a dime from the Government”, she said. Cecelia said she sells banana all day to enable her send her five children, including two children of one of her three family members who died from the virus to school.
Peter Freeman, a Money Changer on Ashmun Street: “The assertion made by the President puts the public trust at risk because this kind of statement do not augur well because the institution that came up with the report is credible, this is not a report that was politically motivated or witch hunting.” “It beats my imagination, that Madam President will side with her officials of government and this is a situation we have talked about a long time ago that we said the President is not doing much in fighting corruption.
Freeman said he strongly believes that the President is not serious in fighting corruption and the recent audit report will be another report that will be swept under the carpet. “So we can’t take the President seriously because we know this kind of statement she made is a clear indication that her officials will walk sky free from this indictment”, Freeman added.
Abullai Sesay, a money exchanger on Broad Street expressed, “It’s regrettable for the President to start to shield her officials who have eaten the Ebola money, the money came for a purpose and her officials saw it as a way to improve their lives and the lives of their children”. Sesay also said “I thought Madam President should have adjusted and congratulated the GAC for its fast audit, but she has bloomed up and shadow her officials with flowers for stealing, we are just tired with her because we know all her statements committing herself to fighting corruption are all rhetoric’s and should not be given credence by the Liberian people.”
Marpu Paygar, a marketer also expressed that the Liberian leader comments are showing the way for her officials to steal more of public money.
“The President shows the way for the people to steal more, since the GAC brought up the report as President she should have read it and see if its worth to punish those who are involved in the corrupt act but she has already started to defend them so I think they will steal more, Ebola suffers plenty people but we leave all to God, let him judge them”, she said.
Joseph Barclay expressed disappointment in the President for the comment. “I am disappointed in my grandmother so to call her, but if you establish anti-graft entities you must allow them to function in a way and fashion that will satisfy the society in order to bring to spotlight those people who are in the constant habit of stealing public funds because when people are entrusted into public offices when they feel in the mind that they are compelled to steal than it create an embarrassing situation to me, then to hear that the President can back her officials”. Barclay believes the President has slipped by making such comments.
“I think she slipped and she is the modern mother of Corruption, the fact that she is the President and she never waited for at least different institutions to come up, but she as the President shielding their corrupt attitudes than in my mind the President is in error”, said Barclay.
Dean Tuarlee, United Methodist University - “I think the President statement undermines the fight against corruption, people are accused; and there is nothing to establish that the acts were committed by them or not, but for the President to comment shows that they are guilty just by the word of the President when they have not been heard, it’s not first of its kind she is on record for shielding corrupt officials and undermining corruption investigation”, Barclay stated.
He recounted that President defended other officials of government in the past. “I recalled the Ellen Cockrum, Musa Bility, and Amara Konneh corruption cases and she defended them all through till now; Madam Sirleaf is the reason why her officials steals and go with impunity”, said Barclay.