Reckless and Controversial Public Servant Salary Regime Legalizes Bribery and Normalizes Corruption in Liberia

By Sarr Abdulai Vandi

May 17, 2014

There is a huge compensation of salary to imported indigene Liberians in the Ellen Johnson-SIRLEAF administration. Paying a monthly salary in excess of US$5K, US$10K, US$15K, US$20K, US$25K and US$30K per month to a public servant in any category is in insane and a reckless pattern of governance that makes public service a path to personal wealth, which is totally out of step with democracies around the world. And especially when such extravagant and massive monthly salaries are being paid to corrupt, unqualified, incompetent, and sometimes misplaced and recycled folks who were in the recent past unemployed, and/or holding menial jobs and occupying marginal positions in the United States, the European Union and the diaspora. I challenged any of these so-called expert civil servants to make public their pay stubs and employment certificates indicating comparable salary régimes in their previous and/or recent past employments in the diaspora.

The USAID Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU) report findings confirmed that the Government of Liberia (GoL) payroll is dominated by syndicates of corruption at all levels of public administration and the public sector. Ironically, a bogus GoL recruitment incentive programs, the Senior Executive Service (SES) and the UN Transfer of Knowledge through Expatriate Nationals (TOKTEN), has been receiving USAID funding since 2006 to increase the pool of so-called competent civil service managers and employees, which, would have laid the foundation for civil service reforms.

Partisan public servants and preferential ministers in some cabinet ministries, the Legislature, the Judiciary, and a host of other government institutions, including the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), Liberia Bank for Development and Industry (LBDI), the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA), the Liberia Maritime Authority (LMA), the National Port Authority (NPA). Others are the National Oil Corporation of Liberia (NOCAL), the new Liberia Telecommunications Corporation (LIBTELCO), and the National Social Security and welfare Corporation (NASSCORP).

There is also the Civil Service Administration (CSA), the Governance Commission (GC), National Elections Commission (NEC), Liberia Petroleum & Refining Corporation (LPRC), Liberia Airport Authority (LAA), the Liberia Civil Aviation Authority (LCAA), Liberia Revenue Authorities (LRA), et-al; are commanding these unprecedented and astronomical monetary gains and rewards. Only for being favored and chosen by the tyrant and plutocrat, Ellen Johnson-SIRLEAF!

Many of these beneficiaries are simply masquerading as technocrats and experts. Their qualifications continue to be questioned and their credentials and professional certifications remain in the shadows.

Several of their curriculum vitaes (CVs) are doctored, and majority of them told outright lies about themselves. Many persons in her inner circle claim degrees they did not earn, and attended online, and inferior and open colleges and universities, and other deficient and low quality polytechnic institutes.

Yet, the crooked plutocrat and imperial president continue to defend, appoint, re-nominate, reappoint and recycle cronies and sycophants. It is particularly unsustainable, irresponsible, and bad governance for an impoverished post-conflict country like Liberia to pay its public servants such colossal sums of monies mostly obtained from donor funding and international goodwill. It is estimated that between 2003 and the present, the Government of Liberia has benefited from more than $10 Billion dollars in direct donor subsidy and over $20 Billion dollars in foreign direct investment (FDI) according to government’s own sources and records. The Republic’s foreign debt of $4.6bn (£3.1bn) has been waived, and our national cash-based budget has increased from $80m to nearly $600m. Yet the country wallows in poverty and remains at the bottom of the UN human development index.

These indigenous Liberian importees, and one-time US underclass welfare and perpetual food stamps recipients, and ghetto dwellers are using their newly ill-gained wealth and undeserved huge salaries to buy luxury homes and brands named SUVs (sport utility vehicles) abroad, and provide financial support to their overseas dependent families, concubines and associates.

There is indiscreet and alarming capital flight since July 2006, six months into the initial sitting of the Unity Party administration. Authoritative sources at the Central Bank of Liberia and money transfer centers indicate that fifty ($50M) million United States Dollars is transferred monthly from Liberia to the United States, Ghana, and South Africa and in the European Union and other Western countries by indigenes and residents in the Government of Liberia employment, particularly, the Ellen Johnson-SIRLEAF administration(s).

Still others charter special luxury ambulance flights and purchase deluxe premium class and royal business class tickets to airlift parents, siblings and friends; for overseas medical treatment and healthcare services, pleasure retreats, offshore marriages and weddings, and birthday anniversaries, and shopping sprees. Whilst the rest of us sink in abject poverty, and deteriorate in health, suffer nervous breakdowns and become insane or die from poor and lack of safe and proper medical care.

Yet, notable others like the late Gabriel Baccus MATTHEWS (2007), Jenkins Kolubah SCOTT (2010), and not long ago, the late former President Moses BLAH  (2013), who fell sick, went hungry and zany; and eventually died in abject poverty as a result of selective political neglect and flagrant vengeance administered by the Republic’s cruel, wicked and snobbish president. Both Gabriel Baccus a former minister of foreign affairs and doyen of the cabinet and Jenkins Kolubah former minister of justice and attorney-general, died from depression, and from other ailments associated with loneliness and poverty.

Quite recently, on Wednesday 16 April 2014, Charles Gyude BRYANT, former head of state and Chairman of the National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL), was reported dead. The National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL) was inaugurated on October 14, 2003 and dismantled on 16 January 2006 to usher in a constitutionally elected president and national legislature. The NTGL took over a deeply troubled and dangerous nation-state and government, and a bitterly divided society and wounded people.

According to the terms of the Accra Comprehensive Peace Accord (ACPA,) each of the factions – GoL (Government of Liberia Forces), LURD (Liberians United for Reconstruction and Democracy), and MODEL (Movement for Democracy in Liberia) – were allocated a share of the leadership positions in Ministries, Agencies, State Owned Enterprises (SOEs), and the National Transitional Legislative Assembly. Civil Society was also allocated a small number of positions. This power-sharing arrangement insured broad representation of all factions across the government.

Reports indicated that the former transitional leader died at the poorly administered, and unequipped and inferior John F. KENNEDY Medical Center in Monrovia after a sudden, massive heart attack. 

FrontPageAfrica also reports that interviews with family members, lawyers and close friends on Thursday, 17 April 2014 suggest that Bryant’s last few months on earth was marred by frustration and what the former head of state believes was an unjust treatment by the Government of Liberia and the Unity Party administration of Ellen Johnson-SIRLEAF and company.

The family has declined any government’s posthumous assistance and/or intervention in the funeral arrangements of the former chief of state. Other former Liberian heads of states that were neglected and endured hardships before their deaths include Wilton SANKAWULO (2009), and David KPORMKPOR (2010). The deceased former officials of government were perceived political opponents and nemesis of the President and some of her operatives.

Deep psychological damage and torture, and physical injuries and abuse remain in the land after an aborted military invasion (1985) and three ruinous consecutive wars, which ran from 1985 – 2003, leaving approximately 350,000 people dead. Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) found the incumbent president and several present officials and others culpable for the wars and annihilating consequences. Numerous rebel factions raped, maimed and killed, some making use of drugged and vitiated child soldiers, and intractable and cantankerous ethnic rivalries and bitterness remain across this West African nation of now more than four million inhabitants.

A former president is serving a fifty-year prison term in Scotland, United Kingdom for crimes against humanity in a neighboring Sierra Leone. Madame President, a war criminal and confessed product and victim of dysfunctional family is incapable, or more correctly, lacks the moral rectitude and fortitude to neither unite and reconcile, nor build a cohesive, transformational, and prosperous nation, society and peoples.

The ghettos, the streets, the lanes, the graveyards and the undergrounds, in Monrovia and other urban centers, have become the nation’s dilapidate sub-cities. These subterranean enclaves comprise more vagrant kids and the girl child, callow and naïve prostitutes, including gays and lesbians; and cracked, and rickety people than at any time in the history of this “Glorious Land of Liberty”. The number has increased fivefold, and progressing since 2006 when Ellen Johnson-SIRLEAF was first inaugurated president of the Republic. The gender candidate prided herself as a mother, grandmother and former spouse with loving, caring, and nurturing and gentle female instincts and qualities.

The fight against corruption is simply political rhetoric and Kum Ba Yah politics. No serious effort has been made to curb, minimize and/or illuminate this national menace. The late indigene Kissi journalist and political activist Saar Thomas KAMARA in one of his legendary editorial commentaries and columns denouncing the corruption craft entitled: The Era of Omertàpublished in the Tuesday 8 February 2011 edition of the New Democrat, essentially exposed President Ellen Johnson-SIRLEAF’s duplicity and countenance in the war against corruption.

Frankly, Madame President is disgustingly a recidivist on corruption, favoritism, nepotism, and proper vetting and appointments in government, who is being led astray by grasping chums and subordinates. Put simply, the Ellen Johnson-SIRLEAF administration is the notorious cabal régime of the corrupt, the incompetent, and the banditti.

There was an overwhelming expectation that the first regular post-war government in the Republic might have been representation of the best and the brightest of a new generation of elites - professional, technocratic, internationally experienced, and democratic in orientation. Instead, the two incumbent administrations are a re-incarnation of Liberia’s pre-1980 Americo-Liberian oligarchy, in combination with a disguised continuation of rule by selected warring party elites and miseducated and assimilated indigenes and apologists, and the undertakers.

After almost a decade of the Ellen Johnson-SIRLEAF administration(s), and billions of US dollars in direct budgetary funding for capacity and infrastructure development, and foreign direct investments, the Republic continuous grinding in poverty. Eighty to eight-five (80-85%) percent of Liberia’s work force is formally unemployed, while literacy is estimated to be 15-20 percent. Liberia is one of the poorest countries in the world, with a per capita gross domestic product of $185.

There is huge youth convexity and massive unemployment among the youth, with only 15 percent of general work force formally employed. Education is a messy sector, and the authorities are clueless. The University of Liberia has a zero acceptance rate. Last year in July 2013, 25,000 school-leavers and aspiring college and university students failed the test for admission in the state public University of Liberia. One analyst said, “That is everyone, between.  It is pretty incredible statistics.”

Of the estimated 20 percent literacy rate out of a population of nearly 4 Million, a meager 5 percent is truly literate, and the imaginary 15 percent functionally illiterate – meaning the fabulous 15 percent can poorly speak and neither barely read, nor properly write.
National peace and stability remain fragile and there is deficient and lack of reliable and effective security forces, poorly and unjustly functioning justice system, and a reticent legislature and a bribery-ridden judiciary, whose escapades is documented and abound.

Robtel Neajai PAILEY
BA (Howard) BA (Howard) MSc (Oxford)

The Liberian political analyst and Mo Ibrahim Foundation PhD scholar at the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), Robtel Neajai PAILEY is correct in her recent narratives marking the 10th Liberia Anniversary of the Accra Peace Accord, in the Guardian.

She was bold and blunt in suggesting that the Republic must mark the 10th anniversary of the Accra Peace Accord by pursuing positive peace, and that the administration must build lasting peace by tackling poverty, inequality and graft.

She eloquently tells us of our national calamity and loses ten years ago. Approximately 250,000 people died. Hundreds of thousands of Liberians fled to other West African countries, while others escaped across the Atlantic. Our roads had holes the size of bomb craters, and our electrical grid was destroyed. Children of school age missed a basic education. Economic activity waned, and Western Union became a household name.

Nonetheless, she said we Liberians may not agree on many things, but we are unanimous about why we do not intend to shun peace. The costs are too numerous to contemplate.
Unfortunately, we lamented that a decade on, we are reminded of how far we have left to go. A raised voice, threats of riot and protest, and overall disillusionment remind us that peace is the mask we wear to hide our fears of violence.

Robtel further reminded us that although the guns have fallen silent, Liberia is experiencing what the social theorist Johan GALTUNG called negative peace – that is, peace derived from the absence of physical violence.

She rightly cautions that over the next decade and beyond, Liberia must strive for positive peace: the absence of indirect, structural violence manifested in poverty, inequality, and impunity.

In addition, that when Liberians publicly rebuke corruption, they are calling for positive peace. When Liberians lament that a third of their land is being leased to concession companies without local consultation, they are calling for positive peace.

Moreover, when Liberians scorn the pay disparities between those who come from abroad and those who remained in the country during the war, they are calling for positive peace. When Liberians call for a war crimes tribunal and full implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) recommendations, they are calling for positive peace.

Ms Neajai PAILEY suggests that positive peace requires a movement away from exclusion, marginalisation and economic deprivation, major key causes of Liberia's uncivil wars. It requires local ownership, agenda setting, and – above all – a commitment to transformation for everyone. In the decade ahead, Liberia should eschew lofty goals, such as achieving middle-income status by 2030, and avoid lengthy roadmaps and ad-hoc committees.

Instead, Ms PAILEY demands that the government should form a pact with its people similar to the Accra Peace Agreement, this time focusing on a positive peace agenda. By identifying five structural reforms that it intends to pursue – (1) decreasing aid dependency by 10%, (2) ensuring quality education through university, (3) instituting a living wage system, (4) renegotiating unfair concessions, (5) and making concrete and tangible inroads on public and private sector corruption – Liberia should focus on achieving these goals in a systematic fashion.

Liberians, friends and partners of the Republic, and those committed to Liberia's development, must yield and comply with this clarion and propitious call to focus on setting and achieving benchmarks for positive peace. Merely moving towards peace is simply not enough.

Scandal at APRM, Infractions of Amos SAWYER, and a National Tragedy
The Liberian corrupt machine has surfaced at the Secretariate of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), in the Ethiopian Capital of Addis Ababa. Having legalized bribery and normalizes corruption in Liberia, the fantastic and spectacular architects and troika - the President, the co-President and the super Minister (Granny, Moose and Amara), have exported their régime of the corrupt and the incompetent in the African Union (AU) Secretariate. Ironically, Dr. SAWYER was recently honored and knighted by President SIRLEAF with Liberia's highest honors for distinguished leadership service and good governance qualities. He was admitted into the Most Venerable Order of the Knighthood of the Pioneers with the grade of Grand Cordon.

Professor Amos Claudius SAWYER (far right)

Professor Amos Claudius SAWYER (R) was appointed to the APR Panel of Eminent Persons at the 12th Summit of the APR Forum held in Addis Ababa in January 2010.
“Who Audits the Auditors: Scandal at the Heart of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM)”, is a bold and blunt narrative of corruption and scandal in the APRM agency. It is a well-researched and written article of mismanagement and misappropriation of funds, revealed in Think Africa Press, by the Burkinabe Deutsche Welle investigative journalist Ramata SORE, on 9 April 2014. Ramata SORE exposes corruption and abuse of authority in the leadership of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), the marque governance agency of the African Union (AU) and, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), respectively.

An initiative of the African Union, the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) was established in March 2003 by the Heads of State and Government Implementation Committee (HSGIC) of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). It is a self-monitoring instrument for assessing performance in governance among the member states. To date, thirty-four (34) Member States have voluntarily acceded to the Mechanism. Seventeen (17) Member States have completed their self-assessment exercise and they have been peer-reviewed by the Forum of Heads of State and Government.

President Ellen Johnson SIRLEAF of Liberia is currently the president of the APRM's Forum of Heads of State, and Amara Mohammed KONNEH, president of the APRM's Committee of Focal Points, consistent with his portfolio in the Government of Liberia (GoL).  Amos Claudius SAWYER, a former Liberian interim president was the Chairperson of the Panel of Eminent Persons from January 2012 to May 2013, period in which“inside figures allege that the APRM is fraught with corruption and mismanagement and that its integrity and independence have been undermined”. He was appointed, not elected to the APRM Panel of Eminent Persons at the 12th Summit of the APR Forum held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in January 2010. 

Dr. Amos Claudius SAWYER is at the centre of the corruption scandal, and President Ellen Johnson-SIRLEAF and her blue chip cabinet minister Amara Mohammed KONNEH, were accused of intimidation and cohesion, and the arrogance of power and abuse of authority, to shield and protect Dr. SAWYER. According to the article, "Johnson SIRLEAF seeks to protect SHIFA to prevent the audit of the Trust Fund which may expose Amos SAWYER," says the insider. SAWYER, the former Liberian president, was the Chairperson of the Panel of Eminent Persons from January 2012 to May 2013, and just before he stepped down personally urged that Shifa's tenure be extended. Some suggest that Sawyer is concerned that if Shifa were to be replaced, certain transactions might be exposed.

The report alleges that from documents Think Africa Press has seen, there is a record of SAWYER misapplying for APRM funding support. On 21 May, 2011, for example, Sawyer received a letter from the APRM's Finance Department asking him to reimburse the organisation R58,837 ($5,500). The letter states that Sawyer claimed expenses for a journey from Monrovia to Maputo − which, being for APRM business, would be eligible to be paid for by the organisation − but which first went via Indianapolis in the US. SAWYER was a research scholar at Indiana University. A more direct journey from Monrovia to Maputo would have been much cheaper, and the APRM requested that SAWYER pay back the difference.

According to the report, an APRM insider also claims that Sawyer took advantage in more ways that have not been uncovered. For instance, our source claims Sawyer used APRM funds to pay private healthcare bills and received $9,000 for secretarial expenses, the need for which was never justified with supporting documents.

An Interim President of a National Unity Government arrangement, Amos Claudius SAWYER is a significant figure. A fine and competent academic, he is the godfather and mentor of much of Liberia’s progressive political class. However, and although he is respected in some circles for impartiality, others see him as irrevocably tainted by his actions in the presidency. Principal among these was urging that ECOMOG forces not seek the NPFL’s military defeat. Others hold that SAWYER engages in inappropriate business and financial dealings. The Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) was a West African multilateral armed force established by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Professor SAWYER’s domestic political infractions and intrigues have been tragic and disappointing. Unclassified documents in the research archives of Siahyonkron NYANSOER, a Movement for Justice in Africa (MOJA) operative and Liberia People’s Party (LPP) activist, suggest that the Professor in the past exploited the daily rhythms of our society and nudged the popular political wave to reshape and redefine him even as it amplified his flaws.

There are indications and suggestions that Amos SAWYER has been a lightning rod and has polarized the Liberian People’s Party (LPP) that he once chaired in a way unimaginable. And that during and after his interim years as President of IGNU (Interim Government of National Unity of Liberia 2 September 1990 – 7 March 1994), he left a trail of disappointed friends and former allies, some of whom feel betrayed, and others who barely speak to him over his deception and his alleged shameless financial dealings in the interim period.

The late Sumowuoi PEWU (2001), a former protégé and associate described Amos SAWYER as a spent force and a tragic political figure, a man diminished by his self-inflicted political missteps and deflated in his relative importance by his own foreordained flaws. He compares Professor SAWYER in Shakespearean folklore’s, as a comic figure, who endures all manners of political slips and humiliations to remain alive only to come seeking rehabilitation and redemption from those he betrayed earlier in his journey.

According to him, SAWYER has proven to be a formidable opponent to the building of democratic precepts in Liberia, perhaps, owing to his petroleum deal that rendered him and his business partner Musa BILITY beholden to President Charles TAYLOR (Republic of Liberia, 1997-2003). There are and remain mounting speculations about SAWYER’s numerous shoddy business and financial deals while he served as Interim President. Musa BILITY is alleged to be a crooked businessman and a presidential confidant. He is embroiled in a series of scandalous corruption entanglements, and is currently on trial for tax invasion.

Musa BILITY in center with his attorneys at the Temple of Justice

PEWU admits that while many admire Professor SAWYER’s intellectual brilliance and political abilities, notwithstanding, others are equally troubled by his liaisons and apparent opportunistic relationships he occasionally fostered with new and individual Liberian régimes, at the expense of democratic forces endeavoring to engender a culture of social justice, peace and reconciliation, democracy and good governance.

He recalls that until the Professor and his preferred protégé, Conmany WESSEH, were brutally assaulted by President TAYLOR’s vigilantes and both fled into exile for the second time in late 1999, Professor SAWYER was the chief spokesperson and an enthusiastic defender of the Charles TAYLOR’s régime and often provided the intellectual muscle needed to rationalize the former President’s indefensible undertakings. He is said to have gone to Washington DC many times at the President’s behest to lobby Congress and State Department officials. Conmany WESSEH is co-founder and an executive director of the Center for Democratic Empowerment (CEDE), with Professor SAWYER.

Moreover, PEWU indicates that Dr. SAWYER is also on record in Abuja, Nigeria, for vehemently asserting in the presence of U.S. Department of State officials, that “democracy mean different thing to different people.” Translation, TAYLOR’s “democracy and governance” might be more applicable in Liberia than that of a western style democracy. Furthermore, the disingenuous professor had argued that the United States and its western allies are being substantially unfair to hold President TAYLOR to higher standards on human rights than they would otherwise in similar cases and circumstances.

Some of the aggrieved Professor’s loyalists, protégés, and LPP cadrés mentioned in one of the publications include, Anthony KESSELLY, John JOSIAH, Steve KONAH, Yanqui ZAZA, and the late Sumowuoi PEWU, among others.

The Liberia Project is a Nightmare and a Colossal Failure
There is imminent state failure, because according to Daron ACEMOGLU and James A. ROBINSON, in their classic Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty (2012), they contend that what separates successful states from failed ones is whether their governing institutions are inclusive or extractive. Extractive states are controlled by ruling elites whose objective is to extract as much wealth as they can from the rest of society. Inclusive states give everyone access to economic opportunity; often, greater inclusiveness creates more prosperity, which creates an incentive for ever greater inclusiveness.

  President Ellen Johnson SIRLEAF: The mastermind

Corruption poses risks to political legitimacy and stability in fragile and weak administrations, including bad and poor governance countries. There is an urgent need for the international community, donor partners and foreign aid agencies to prioritize corrective action on corruption in fragile nation-states and instable administrations. The powerful and prevalent citizen uprisings in the Maghreb region and the North African nations of Tunisia, Libya and Egypt in recent times are a strong and compelling reminder that failure to curb and halt reckless corruption, and desist from imperious rule and autocratic governance can directly affect the legitimacy and stability of suspect political régimes.

Liberia’s political trajectory continuous and remains to be characterized by a system of patronage that is apparent in society, politics, and the economy. The country is emerging from internal conflict and still grappling with pockets at the sub-national levels. Patronage networks in the Africa region are linked to economic crimes, electoral fraud, democratic disenfranchisement, prejudice and exclusion, political terrorism and violence; and rampant corruption, extreme favoritism and flagrant nepotism.

The secrete Liberia Governance Stakeholders Survey (LGSS) report suggests that, even though both formal and informal institutions play a role in Liberia’s modern political economy, it is the informal institutions that play critical and influential roles. Those enticing and irresistible informal institutions were identified as corruption, cronyism, and ethnicity, tribalism and religion, of recent gender, patronage and family ties, and sycophancy.

According to the report, powerful and strong formal institutions or think tanks play decisive and vital roles, which enable negative and tempting informal institutions to strive. These principal formal institutions include an imperial presidency and dominant executive, enabled by lack of checks and balances of the legislature and judiciary, weak enforcement and regulatory bodies, ineffective rule of law institutions, poor systems of accountability, an incomplete legal framework, and unimplemented laws.

The LGSS report characterizes the strengths and weaknesses of internal and external agents in Liberia. An agent is one who works for the accomplishment of the goals or objectives of the organisation, conflict resolution, increased understanding, and more leadership. The report suggests that agents are important actors who directly influence the political economy of Liberia. They can be either individuals or categories of individuals, and are characterized into internal and external agents.

Internal agents include political leaders and political parties, and tribal and secret society leaders, who are particularly important vs. professional and business organizations, civil society organizations (CSOs), and community-based organizations (CBOs), which are not as important or influential.

According to the report, there are four highly powerful and influential external agents in the Liberia body politics and political economy. They are (i) bilateral donors, (ii) multilateral development banks, (iii) international organizations (IGOs), and (iv) Multinational Corporations, including concessionaires. Other external agents, such as regional organizations of the African Union (AU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and the Mano River Union (MRU), have less impact in the four contentious and problematic sectors of the Republic’s political economy: payroll, land, concessions, and auditing/accounting, which remain the source of conflict.

The report refers to the above factors in totality as fomenting or impeding change in Liberia and as drivers of change in country-level analysis. Understandingly, the LGSS report identifies the Republic’s principal and significant drivers of change to include urban elites, international donors, the domineering President and her close advisors, government officials who act with impunity, the belligerent and stubborn remnants of war, and traditional leaders.

Different forms of corruption pose risks to political legitimacy and stability in fragile situations, and what this means for prioritising action on corruption. It focuses in particular on potential types of engagement and support by the international donor community. It also considers how anti-corruption initiatives affect political legitimacy and stability in fragile situations.

Political leaders, lawmakers, government officials, intellectuals, and others influence decision making at both national and sub-national levels. These actors wield a disproportionate amount of political and economic power in “fragile states.”  They are political elites, whose views of the state influence state stability.

Public perceptions are critical because citizens, often together with elite, may marshal public sentiment to justify or orchestrate popular uprisings. Moreover, a state’s legitimacy is determined by a dynamic between citizens’ expectations and the state’s ability to meet those expectations. If citizens or elites perceive that, the state is failing to meet citizens’ expectations, instability often results and régime imminent.

There is a rebranding of Liberia political and economic patronage on the horizon. It is brutal, pervasive and unprecedented. It comprises an elite cartel and broad-based network of crooked politicians, petite party leaders, unprofessional bureaucrats, fake intelligentsias and functional illiterates, and shadow business people, who share the spoils and benefits among each other. The network binds together and resists pressure from political and economic competitors. Critics are bought off and/or paid off. They are marginalized and often times blackmailed into silence, perpetual dependence, irrelevance and/or rendered inconsequential.
Reconciliation is elusive, and national cohesion is in decline and negligible. The Republic is disintegrating at a fast pace, and the population is disenchanted and restless. The Republic’s social network is a bubbling volcano ripe for dangerous and catastrophic explosion. Major public services are poor, nonexistent and inaccessible, or beyond the reach of majority of the citizens.

Essential elements of brand ELLEN in 2005, and 2011, respectively, were trustworthiness, competence, international contacts and connections, private sector footprint and global reach; virtues the candidate used to contrast herself with other candidates and her predecessors. She promised honesty in foreign policy, efficiency and transparency in economic and fiscal affairs, and the effective and equitable management of the Republic’s resources. She even pledged devolution of governance and precision in governing. We now know that all of the above were empty exaggerations and symptomatic narcissisms.

Furthermore, the President’s Agenda for Prosperity (AfP) and the Agenda for Transformation (AfT), designed at creating a middle-income society by 2030 are Sangoma delusions and Voodoo economics. Both of these policies and strategies are colossal distortions and massive deceptions. The incompetent and inexperienced golden-boy minister, and naïveté minister of finance and economic development, and the Machiavellian Professor and surreptitious chairman of the Governance Commission (GC) are her collaborators in the above scandalous scheme.

The Professor turned Politician is a bankrupt intellectual and a visionless interim leader who jeopardized the state and ceded the Republic. He abandoned the University of Liberia, which severely deteriorated and broke down during his chequered tenure as President of IGNU (the Interim Government of National Unity). The university was his stronghold, where he commanded huge and almost fanatic following and massive support, and impeccable loyalty among rural and impoverished students, and colleagues. Today, he enjoys co-presidential status alongside his compatriot and co-founder of the Association for Constitutional Democracy in Liberia (ACDL).

The ACDL is ancestor to the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL). Elements of the ACDL founded the NPFL and financed the military wing of the movement, after the failed and lethal Tuesday, 12 November 1985 military invasion by Brigadier General Thomas QUIWONKPA, and his Patriotic Forces, the forerunner of NPFL.

Ellen Johnson-SIRLEAF has been at the center of the past 35 years (April 1979 – April 2014) of Liberia’s chequered history, sowing the seeds of conflict and disunity, agitating and financing rebellions and wars, commandeering poor governance and economic thievery. The woman has shown herself to be an outright fraud and hypocrite of the vilest sort. This writer is completely and thoroughly disgusted with her and anyone who defends her. The lame duck President ought to be forced into retirement at once, without delay, and the constitutional succession mechanism invoked, effective immediately.
Besides, the Omertà type collaborating deals been struck between the President and the Legislature as in September 2012 over the passage of the corruption triggered 2012-2013, and now comparable 2013-2014 national budgets, publicly admitted by the president in a forum organized by the US Foreign Relations Council in New York; legalizes bribery and normalizes corruption in the Republic. Incidentally, both budgets indicate shortfalls; contain astronomical and selected extravagant salary régimes, and lack transparency and accountability.

The post-conflict country and Ellen Johnson-SIRLEAF’s administrations continue to benefit from the most generous international reconstruction support and supplementary budget financing of any recent post-conflict nation. Liberia’s development partners and member states of the International Contact Group on Liberia (ICGL), in particular, have been most proactive and supportive in the Republic’s rebuilding initiatives and reconstruction undertakings.

Notwithstanding the 2010 national debt waiver by the international lenders that flagrantly increased and recklessly mushroomed to a staggering US$4.9 Billion in the brief tenure and under the signature of then Finance Minister Ellen Johnson-SIRLEAF in the William Richard TOLBERT Jr administration. As of April 2014, our national debt has been reinvented and now stands at a whopping US$1.5Billion, under very peculiar and suspicious circumstances. Perhaps the advancing octogenarian plutocrat is up to her old games and tricks, and is determined to mortgage the Republic before she exits into forced retirement. The new and imminent national debt burden is bound to choke the next generation of politicians and state actors, civil society organizations, the public and national stakeholders.  

The 2010 National Debt Waiver: A Gyude BRYANT’s Legacy
Incidentally, it was the NTGL’s adoption and successful implementation of the Governance and Economic Management Assistance Program (GEMAP) that qualified Liberia as a Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPCInitiative client, which precipitated the waiver of the national debt. GEMAP is an effort, started September 2005, by the Liberian government and the international community, via the International Contact Group on Liberia (ICGL) to reshape the fundamentally broken system of governance that contributed to 23 years of conflict in Liberia. GEMAP and subsequently HIPC were Chairman Charles Gyude BRYANT's signature programs and achievements.

Late Charles Gyude BRYANT
NTGL Chairman and Head of State, 2002-2006

The Governance and Economic management Assistance (GEMAP) signed in Accra, Ghana on September 9, 2005 empowered foreign expatriates to co-manage all of Liberia entities, including those Ministries and Agencies that are responsible for preparing and concluding concessionary agreements. GEMAP was a partnership between the Government of Liberia and the international community to promote accountability, responsibility and transparency in fiscal and financial management.

Featured in a series of world development reports, this ground breaking, multi-donor, multi-million dollar program is emerging as a model for improving governance in post-conflict environments. The majority of GEMAP was funded by USAID and implemented by IBI. Initially, the program was vigorously opposed by the Madame, the Professor, and company.
Because of the positive Liberia project and experience, it has been suggested that GEMAP is now under serious consideration by both academics and policy makers as a tool for other post-conflict states. With greater awareness by donors that they function as 'investors' in developing, it is likely that additional GEMAP-like programs will be created in the future in order to provide the 'investors' some measure of reassurance that their 'partners' are in fact spending their money, as well as the donors' money, responsibly and with accountability.

Actionable Legislation and curbing reckless hiring and extravagant compensation 
There must be legislation to limit the incentives and salaries of public officials to enable government keep vital programs revived, funded and active. Correspondingly, rigid requirements must be legislated and competitive vetting criteria introduced and implemented to recruit qualified, competent, experienced, and independent professional public and civil servants, in senior executive service (SES) positions, and not left to the whims and caprices of the cruel plutocrat and wicked witch to recruit and appoint her cronies to positions of wealth and power.

Unless we forget what candidate Ellen Johnson-SIRLEAF said in a 16 July 1997 Special Presidential Elections Address to the Nation, that:  

“As a political philosophy, I would like to see the creation of a free and open society, in which the government is democratically elected, and where respect for the rule of law applies as much to those who govern as to those who are governed.

I will set the example by restricting myself to those appointments that are expressly reserved for the president under the Constitution, i.e., ministers, their deputies and assistants, and ambassadors.

Government is a sacred trust and those in positions of trust must be competent. They must be qualified. Nothing is more destructive to a good government than having unqualified people making powerful decisions.

But competence alone is not enough. People in positions of trust must also understand and demonstrate by their behavior that they acknowledge the limits of power. My government will be committed to bringing in the best and the brightest.

There is a need for political renewal. Our history is full of examples of government officials who have not governed themselves by the very laws they created. Efficiency, honesty and the rule of law shall be the bedrock of a Sirleaf administration. It will apply to those who govern as well as those who are governed.

In concert with the people, our government will seek constitutional reforms to remove the historical impediments to good governance. Accordingly, we will discourage an imperial presidency; promote the political autonomy of local governments within the framework of decentralization. We will advocate leadership rotation and demand accountability at all levels.”  
What a political charade and arrogance of power!
I approve and confirm the above quote. I was there and I am principal coauthor of that speech along with Eugene PEABODY, on 16 July 1997.The Special Elections were held on 19 July 1997.

Pewu, Sumowuoi D. (2001): Sawyer’s Infractions and LPP’s Cadres, Unpublished Article, in the Archives of Siahyonkron NYANSEOR, Lawrenceville, GA USA.
Sarr Abdulai Vandi

The Author
Sarr Abdulai VANDI is University Professor of International Affairs, ITU senior expert, and IBB professor and director emeritus (2000-2010). He initiated the ongoing Liberia telecommunications and ICTs/ICT4D reform process (1999-2004), which culminated into the establishment of the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA). He was first chairman and chief executive of the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) 2004-2007. He is former Howard University assistant professor, School of Communications (1977-1981), and senior fellow, African Studies and Research Centre (1994-1998), and Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, RL. He was briefly Provost and VPAA, Grand Bassa Community College (GBCC) 2010-2011. Dr. VANDI is principal co-author with the Kenyan academic, Prof. MOHIDDIN of the good governance framework document (UNDESA, 2000), which gave birth to the Good Governance Commission (GC). He is presently in exile in the United States.
All opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. To send a rebuttal or contribute an op-ed, please contact