“No operational funds for the police breed corruption”

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The US Ambassador to Liberia, Michael McCarthy, has blamed the government’s failure to provide the Liberia National Police with basic operational funds as one of the main factors that breeds corruption among officers.

The United States Ambassador to Liberia noted that while the country’s police force is not only severely understaffed and underfunded, the lack of operational funds opens the floodgates to corruption as officers must collect money from plaintiffs to make arrests, among other things.

Amb. McCarthy noted that while police corruption does exist, police officers are “asking the families of rape victims and survivors for gas money not because they want to get rich, but because their government doesn’t not provide the basic operational funding needed to fill a tank of gas to respond to emergencies.”

“They say victims of sexual abuse have to pay for the police to do their job, but that’s the case. Although the Liberian government has announced plans to recruit 1,000 officers, the PNL has yet to receive funding to start this desperately needed process. The daily delay maintains the status quo of insecurity in Liberia – and raises fears that ultimately the recruitment process will be rushed and politically influenced, rather than a transparent process designed to train those who truly wish to serve and protect the citizens of Liberia.

The Liberian police, according to a 2013 report by Human Rights Watch, noted that underpaid and inadequately supplied officers demand bribes at every stage of an investigation.

The ‘No Money, No Justice’ report is the most comprehensive report on the police in their role of providing justice for all Liberians.

In addition, the United Nations, citing a lack of professionalism and resources within the police force, recommended in February 2013 that the government allocate more resources to law enforcement to ensure that the security sector of the Liberia is gaining the trust of its citizens, but that has not been the case. case since then.

Improving the criminal justice system, combating impunity for crimes, and improving access to justice and security services for all Liberians remain particularly important for peacebuilding,” he said. then declared the United Nations Mission in Liberia in its report to the Security Council.

But nine years later, the same logistical and low-functioning issues that the police faced then continue to impact its operation in 2022.

Amb. McCarthy also revealed that government officials are accused of corruption because they refuse to declare their assets as required by the National Code of Conduct.

This, he said, would respond to how senior government officials are said to be building mansions and compounds in Liberia and elsewhere as they receive government salaries.

“Asset declarations for public officials are required by the code of conduct here in Liberia. It’s not complicated,” he said.

The National Code of Conduct requires government employees to declare their assets before taking office and thereafter, or at the end of every three years, upon promotion or transfer to another public office and retirement or resignation.

But this was not respected; officials, including President George Weah, refused to declare their assets. Government employees have continually refused to abide by the code of conduct.

Ambassador McCarthy believes that when officials publicly announce what they have before they begin their duties, it will erase the mindset of corruption, enhance transparency and promote democracy.

“In a healthy democracy, citizens have the right to ask their government these kinds of questions, and the government is obligated to provide transparent and truthful answers. But what we see too often in Liberia today is that while the media environment easily allows such questions, those asking them are treated as political enemies, and full answers are rarely provided,” he added.

“Integrity institutions are designed to strengthen the democratic fabric in Liberia. But they need adequate funding and government support to fulfill their legal mandate. Instead, we are repeatedly told that Liberia’s integrity institutions suffer from inadequate budgets, cash flow interruptions and a lack of government support which in many cases prevents them from fulfilling their mandate. said Ambassador McCarthy.

Speaking at the 12th Annual Carl Gershman Democracy Lecture Forum hosted by Naymote Partners for Democratic Development in Monrovia, Ambassador McCarthy said he was told by employees of these integrity institutions that they sometimes come under political pressure for not fulfilling their mandate.

“Many Liberians insist that integrity institutions do not prosecute politically connected defendants. County governments are a fundamental component of Liberian democracy. Why are counties not receiving the level of funding that is due to them under Liberian law? asked the US ambassador.

He added that the Liberian National Police was severely understaffed and underfunded and that while police corruption may well exist, police are asking families of rape victims and survivors for money for gasoline not because that they want to get rich, but because their government does not provide them with the basic operational funding needed to fill a gas tank to respond to emergencies.

“Although the Liberian government has announced its intention to recruit 1,000 officers, the LNP has yet to receive funding to begin this desperately needed process. Each day’s delay maintains the status quo of insecurity in Liberia – and raises concerns that ultimately the recruitment process is rushed and politically influenced, rather than a transparent process designed to train those who truly wish to serve and protect the citizens of Liberia.

The Carl Gershman Democracy Lecture Forum brings young people together to inspire them to commit to the principles of democracy and to understand their roles and responsibilities in a democratic society.

The Forum is named in honor of former President, Carl Gershman, National Endowment for Democracy. The event is held quarterly in hopes of helping young people grow and embrace democratic values, norms and ideas for the common good of the country as they excel in leadership positions.

Gershman is known for his role in promoting democracy in the United States, Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

Previously, he served as the United States Representative to the United Nations Human Rights Committee during the first Reagan administration.

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