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Press Statement for Immediate Release

Rising Public Sector Corruption in Liberia, as President Weah Presides Over Liberia’s Worst Ever Score/Rating on the CPI

Monrovia, Tuesday, 31 January 2023

The Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL) is pleased to release the findings of Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2022. Since 1995, the Corruption Perception Index has been scoring and ranking countries based on how corrupt their public sectors are perceived, according to experts and business executives. The score ranges from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean), where 0 equals the highest level of perceived public sector corruption and 100 equals the lowest level of perceived public sector corruption. 180 Countries were targeted in 2022 as in 2020 and 2021.

The CPI draws upon 13 data sources, which captured the assessment of experts and business executives on a number of corrupt behaviors in the public sector. These corrupt practices and behaviors include bribery, diversion of public funds and supplies, use of public office for private gain, procurement irregularities, state capture, and nepotism in the civil service. Also, some of the assess mechanisms available to prevent and address corruption in a country. Examples include the government’s ability to enforce integrity mechanisms; independence of anti-graft institutions; the effective prosecution of corrupt officials; conflict of interest prevention; access to information; freedom of speech and the media, and legal protection for whistleblowers, witnesses, journalists, and investigators.

Global Highlights:

The CPI 2022, released today by Transparency International mainly focuses on the link between Corruption and Insecurity/Conflict. CPI 2022 shows that most of the world continues to fail to fight corruption: 95 per cent of countries have made little to no progress since 2017. In other words, the fight against corruption has stagnated worldwide at a time when conflict and insecurity abound and human rights and democracy are also under attack. This is no coincidence. Corruption enables human rights abuses and fuels conflict and insecurity. Equally, ensuring peace and security and basic rights and freedoms means there is less space for corruption to go unpunished.

The global average remains unchanged at a score of 43 out of 100 for the eleventh year in a row. Denmark (90) tops the index this year, with Finland and New Zealand following closely, both at 87. Strong democratic institutions and regard for human rights also make these countries some of the most peaceful in the world, according to the Global Peace Index. Meanwhile, South Sudan (13), Syria (13) and Somalia (12), all of which

are embroiled in protracted conflict, and remain at the bottom of the CPI. 26 countries – among them, Qatar (58), Guatemala (24), Liberia (26) and the United Kingdom (73) – are all at historic lows this year.

The highest-scoring region is Western Europe with an average score of 60. The lowest-scoring region is Sub-Saharan Africa (32). The 32 average score of Sub-Saharan Africa shows a bleak picture of inaction against corruption in the region, as governments are doing very little to deal with the culture of impunity.

Regional Highlights and Trends:

In 2022, the Corruption Perception Index shows a decade of stagnating Corruption levels amid insecurity, human rights abuses and democratic decline in Sub-Saharan Africa. Progress is stalled, while over 90 per cent (45 of the 49 countries surveyed on the continent) score below 50. The Sub-Saharan Africa average is 32, the lowest in the world. In the last decade, 43 countries in the region have either declined or made no significant progress.  Since 2012, Botswana (55), Liberia (26), Mali (29) and South Sudan (11) have significantly declined on the CPI.

 

With a score of 70, the Seychelles earns the highest mark in the region, followed by Botswana (60) and Cape Verde (60) as distant second-place holders. Burundi (17), Equatorial Guinea (17), South Sudan (13), and Somalia (12) are the region’s worst performers. Some significant improvers over the last few years include Seychelles (70), Senegal (43), Ethiopia (38), Tanzania (38), Kenya (32), Côte d'Ivoire (36) and Angola (29).

Although no country is free of corruption, countries topping the CPI share characteristics of open government, press freedom, strong parliament/legislature, civil liberties, and independent judiciary. Meanwhile, countries at the bottom are characterized by widespread impunity for corruption; poor governance; and weak institutions, including but not limited to parliament/legislature and anti-corruption and integrity institutions.

Liberia’s Score and Performance:

From 29 in 2021, Liberia has dropped by 3 points to 26 in 2022. This further cements the country’s position as one of the biggest decliners on the CPI, dropping by a massive 15 points from 41 in 2012 to 26 in 2022. The country now ranks 142/180 and remains further down the table, joining the list of countries significantly declining on the CPI. Worldwide, with the exception of Saint Lucia that has dropped sixteen (16) points, only Liberia has fallen fifteen (15) points since 2012. Also, in West Africa and the Mano River Union, Liberia is the only country that has declined by 6 points over the last five years. Since the country attained her highest score of 41 in 2012, it has been in free-fall on the CPI, topping the list of countries with stagnated and declining anti-corruption efforts, much to the disappointment of many. This is corroborated by CENTAL 2022

State of Corruption Report (SCORE 2022), which reveals that 90% of Liberians think Corruption level is high in the country, with confidence in the executive branch of government to fight against corruption declining from 30% in 2021 to 26% in 2022.

CENTAL is extremely concerned over Liberia’s continuous poor performance, especially her place among the Worst Decliners globally. In part, this speaks to the Liberian Government’s inability to address the entrenched culture of impunity by adequately funding public integrity institutions, fully enforcing existing anti-corruption laws and policies, and taking drastic actions against hi officials accused and investigated for corruption. Importantly, this year’s poor result should serve as a wake-up call to the President that his efforts are not good enough, as they have only taken the country backward in its anti-corruption drive. Liberians have heard more words and promises from the President and other public officials than genuine efforts in the fight against Corruption in the country. This has to change if the country’s extremely disappointing performance has to be reversed. Massive improvement in score and performance, and not stagnation and further decline, is what the country needs, going forward.

Recommendations:

Improvement is possible, but only when the necessary corrective measures are instituted. Like other countries that registered remarkable progress and improvements over the last decade, Liberia can climb the CPI ladder, surpass its 41 scores of 2012, and outperform other countries. However, this can be achieved if President is Sincere about his desire to tackle the entrenched culture of corruption, especially in the public sector. 

We recommend the following additional actions/measures:

  1. That President George Weah leads by example and pursues a sincere and holistic fight against Corruption that does not protect certain individuals and groups accused and investigated for corruption, especially his confidantes.
  2. Public Officials accused and investigated for corruption should be prosecuted and made to face the full weight of the law. Strong administrative actions from the President are also needed to deter corrupt behaviors in and out of government.
  3. Government anti-corruption agencies must be fully funded and given adequate moral support.  The independence and sanctity of integrity institutions should also be maintained by the President and his government.
  4. That issues bordering on governance and accountability take center stage in the Weah-led administration to give citizens and development partners confidence in his anti-corruption efforts and hope for a better Liberia.
  5. That the Legislature be robust and independent in playing its role, ensuring that priority is given to anti-corruption and governance issues.
  1. The Legislature should open itself up for a financial audit, as one of the single biggest receivers of taxpayers’ monies in Liberia.
  • Finally, civil society, media, ordinary citizens, and other actors should remain active and constructively engaged in national efforts against corruption.

Signed:

Anderson Miamen,

0886818855/0776391481

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LOCATION

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Tubman Boulevard
Monrovia, Liberia
Phone: +231 88 681 8855
Email: info@cental.org.lr
Website: www.cental.org.lr 

 

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