LIBERIA TO LAUNCH ANTI-CORRUPTION INNOVATION PROJECT THAT WILL ENCOURAGE CITIZENS’ PARTICIPATION

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The Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) and three Civil Society Organizations – CENTAL, Accountability Lab Liberia, and Integrity Watch Liberia, with support from UNDP and the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), will launch an Anti-Corruption Innovation Project on 26 October 2021 at the Ministerial Complex in Monrovia.

The Project intends to build a partnership between the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) and Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s) with specialized and long-term experiences in corruption prevention. It will promote the use of ICT and innovation to create public demand, transparency, and prompt response to incidents of corruption.
Liberia’s corruption perception index has been deteriorating yearly, dropping from a score of 37/100 in 2016 to 32/100 in 2018, and then to 28/100 in 2020 on the global Corruption Perception Index (CPI).

The index, which ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople, uses a scale of zero-100, where zero is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.
“We need citizens to play a stronger, more active role in demanding transparency, integrity, and accountability in governance at all levels. In the absence of that, what we have is an environment that is fertile for corruption to thrive unhindered,” said Stephen Rodriquez, UNDP’s Resident Representative in Liberia.

In order to deepen citizens’ engagement in the fight against corruption, the project will develop a secure national digital e-platform to enable members of the public to safely report suspected acts of corruption nationally.
The project will also help to improve the effectiveness of the Liberian Anti-Corruption Commission whose work has been undermined by several factors.

Currently, the Commission lacks prosecutorial powers and operates within a weak legal framework in relation to financial disclosure and wealth declaration. Moreover, there is little protection for whistle-blowers, which deters citizens from reporting corruption. The anti-corruption agency also has to contend with a deeply entrenched culture of unethical conduct in both the public and private sectors, especially in procurement, and the lack of capacity within state agencies to address impunity and promote integrity.

The project will place special emphasis on building the capacity of the LACC to track, report, and investigate acts of corruption consistent with its legal mandate.

Strengthening anti-graft agencies and citizenry participation and whistle-blowers protection will provide safe space for citizens to expose corruption when they see it, as well as to help prevent it by nurturing a culture of citizen-driven accountability. Kenya should follow suit in order to collectively encourage and support citizens to fight corruption.

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