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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Liberian President Boakai Protects Spy Agency Against Audit in Blow to Governance

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By  Festus Poquie

In a new veil of secrecy, the government of President Joseph Boakai is protecting the country’s intelligence service from public audit, one month after directing the General Auditing Commission to review its accounts and spending.

Boakai’s latest decision is blow to transparency in governance of the West African nation where 3.5 million of its 5.5 million population are poor and hungry on account of corruption, according to independent analysts and critics.

Fourteen days following his inauguration Boakai targeted the National Security Agency , view for decades as the heartbeat of suspicious government spending in his professed war against corruption,  directing the Auditor Generating to performed  comprehensive audit of the spy agency.

Auditor General Garswa Jackson informed lawmakers in a Feb, 29 letter, made public 48 hours ago that the President’s Chief of Office Staff and Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Sylvester Grisby has asked the GAC to disengage with the audit.

The President’s office cited “security’ of the NSA operation as reasons to keep auditors away from the agency’s financial records.

“The request has been granted,” the Auditor General said.

“This letter is intended to notify the National Legislature about the decommissioning of the NSA audit.”

The decision to decommission the National Security Agency’s audit has far-reaching implications that go beyond its immediate impact, Patrick M’bayo, a former activist and Johnson-Sirelaf era official, now residing in the United States said in a Facebook post.

“It effectively legitimizes and institutionalizes the NSA’s position as a center for corrupt government transactions. This troubling development highlights a lack of political will to combat corruption at all levels of the Liberian government.

“With the absence of an audit culture at the NSA, current and future governments now have a convenient avenue to channel their corrupt transactions through the NSA without fear of detection or accountability. In essence, the NSA has become a haven for illicit activities.

“This situation raises concerns about the seriousness of the Boakai administration to tackle corruption from its roots. It sends a message that corruption can flourish unchecked within our institutions. Without proper oversight and accountability mechanisms at the NSA and other government institutions, fraudulent financial transactions are expected to thrive, and this will enhance the abuse of power and the erosion of public trust.”

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