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Corruption in Liberia: The State is not your Friend

Corruption in Liberia: The State is not your Friend

Police Inspector General Chris Massaquoi

When commenting on an article about corruption in Liberia, a poster on my Facebook buddy’s wall alluded that the state is not always a friend as generally viewed, especially in the Western context. Certainly, as reported by the Liberian Daily Observer, recent corruption index research reveals that that the entire state of this West African country is entangled in corruption of all sorts.

Funded by the United Nations Development Programme and TRUSTAFRICA, the corruption perception index (CPI) 2012, released last Friday, is the work of a local civil society group, Action for Genuine Democratic Alternatives (AGENDA). This newly launched index aims to assess “public perception about the scope, type and tendency of corruption in the Liberian society” in order to inform policymakers and other stakeholders.

The index ranks corruption in Liberia into categories of hierarchy, starting from extremely corrupt down to partial transparent:

  1. Extreme Corrupt: The Liberia National Police (84.25%) and Liberian circuit courts (81.45%)
  2. Highly Corrupt: The National Legislature, justices of the peace, multinational business, Nigerian businesses, water services, magisterial courts, and permits and payments.
  3. Corrupt: Ministries of State, Health and Education, the Supreme Court, Lebanese Businesses, television stations, Fula businesses, Liberian businesses, immigration, newspapers, local civil society organizations, and transportation.
  4. Partly Corrupt: International organizations, radio stations, and watchdog agencies
  5. Partial Transparent: The General Auditing Commission and the Office of the President.

This damning report comes against the backdrop of the Liberian Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), the Whistle Blower Act, and the Freedom of Information Act, measures, among others, set up by the Johnson-Sirleaf administration to crack down on corruption. In August, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, suspended 46 government officials, including her own son Charles Sirleaf as the a Central Bank deputy governor, for failing to declare their assets to the country’s anti-corruption body.



Ndumba J. Kamwanyah

Ndumba Jonnah Kamwanyah, a native of Namibia in Southern Africa, is an independent consultant providing trusted advice and capacity building through training, research, and social impact analysis to customers around the world. Mos recently Ndumba returned from a consulting assignment in Liberia in support of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).
In his recent previous life Ndumba taught (as an Adjunct Professor) traditional justice and indigenous African political institutions in sub-Saharan Africa at the Rhode Island College-Anthropology Department.

He is very passionate about democracy development and peace-building, and considers himself as a street researcher interested in the politics of everyday life.
Twitter: NdumbaKamwanyah