Former Auditor General John Morlu has implored the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission to launch comprehensive investigation into the operation of the Liberia Revenue Authority to tackle growing loses in tax revenue which is estimated between $300 million to $900 million yearly.
Thomas Nah Doe, the Commissioner General of the LRA who died on Dec. 23, 2023 and employees of the agency should be probed with focus on illicit wealth and lifestyle, Morlu said in a post on his whatsApp channel.
When the Oracle News Daily asked the ex-Auditor General why he wants a dead man investigated, he responded “it demonstrates the seriousness to raise the national revenue and to fight corruption regardless of the circumstances and sentiments.”
Morlu also wants tax collectors and auditors to publically declare their assets. Outgoing Comptroller and Accountant General Janga Kowo told the Oracle, the George Weah administration’s public finance mismanagement reform made assets declaration mandatory for government accountants and comptrollers.
“Scrutinize every individual at LRA, from janitors to high-ranking officials, including Thomas Nah Doe. Even in death, accountability is imperative. Conduct illicit wealth and lifestyle investigations akin to practices in Kenya and the USA,” Morlu said.
“Mandate asset declarations for everyone at LRA, government-wide internal and external auditors, individuals at PPCC, procurement directors, Accountants and Comptroller General staff, and all government accountants and finance personnel.
Despite personal connections, a thorough cleansing of these roles is essential for fighting corruption and expanding domestic resource mobilization.
“Specific Inquiry: Undertake an illicit wealth and lifestyle investigation into Michael Thomas, District #4, Montserrado County. While anticipating cries of “witch hunt,” there is a significant reason for singling out this Representative-elect.
This action aims to safeguard Joe Boakai’s government from the peril of succumbing to corruption.”
Every Liberian deserves the right to live a great life on this earth. God did not send Liberians on the earth to live and die poor because of a few people stealing and mismanaging their resources.
Before the war in Liberia, few aspired to be tax collectors or auditors. However, our efforts to promote tax collection and audit awareness have elevated these professions, unfortunately, in so many instances, not in public esteem but in personal gain.
Presently, Liberia’s wealthiest individuals are found at the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), and alarming reports suggest substantial annual revenue losses.
Finance Minister Samuel Tweah and the Acting LRA boss assert a $300 million loss, while some argue it might be closer to $900 million.
Disturbingly, former finance ministers align on Liberia losing vast amounts, with estimations ranging from $2.5 billion to an alarming $4 billion.
The consensus is that the current budget of about $625 million is a gross understatement benefiting a select few.