This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from a U4 Partner Agency. The U4 Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International in collaboration with the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre based at the Chr. Michelsen Institute.
Please provide an overview of corruption and anti-corruption efforts and actors in Liberia, with a special focus on Natural Resources (energy/petroleum). To the extent possible, please identify institutions, actors and processes that might support a pro integrity agenda.
The document will be used in the planning of cooperation in order to identify any risks and ways to mitigate these.
1. Overview of corruption in Liberia
2. Anti-corruption efforts in Liberia
Liberia is perceived as having progressed in the fight against corruption over the last few years since the 2003 Accra Comprehensive Peace Accord. In particular, President Sirleaf has demonstrated a strong leadership on anti-corruption issues which has translated into ensuring the independence of the General Auditing Commission, supporting the establishment of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission, promoting transparent financial management, public procurement and budget processes and assuring Liberia's compliance with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) through the Liberian EITI law. These efforts have been pro-actively supported by the international community and civil society through the Governance and Economic Management Assistance Program (GEMAP).
These combined efforts have contributed to achieve remarkable progress in terms of control of corruption. While Liberia still performs significantly below world and regional averages in many areas of governance, most indicators reflect positive governance trends since President Johnson-Sirleaf took office in 2006.
However, in spite of these positive developments, corruption remains endemic and permeates most sectors of the society. Low public sector salaries, lack of training and capacity, inefficient and cumbersome regulations create both incentives and opportunities for corruption across the public sector. In addition, Liberia is endowed with vast mineral wealth, some of it possibly untapped, including iron ore, timber, diamonds, gold and rubber, and in spite of progress made in this area too, natural resource management continues to face major corruption and governance challenges. As the country is set to join the group of oil producing countries, it is especially important to address these issues to ensure that potential oil boom benefits all Liberians instead of precipitating the country in a spiral of corruption and kleptocracy.
Marie Chêne, Transparency International, [email protected]