By Precious D. Freeman
The Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL) has welcomed President George Weah’s dismissal action and demands more actions to ensure the credibility and integrity of LISGIS and the 2022 CENSUS.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday, the Executive Director for CENTAL Anderson D. Miamen said that the Liberia Institute for Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS) has been at the center of controversies, claims and counterclaims, and multiple allegations of corruption and financial malpractices.
According to him, these developments have not augur well for the reputation of LISGIS, an institution that should be seen and known for credibility and integrity in collecting, processing, and communicating critical data and information for the country.
Mr. Miamen added that LISGIS presides over statistical processes in Liberia which means that at all times; its officials should exercise extreme caution in performing their duties to continuously enjoy the confidence of the public and partners.
“However, this has not been the case for several months, the institution has been in the media for all the wrong reasons; mainly gross incompetence in managing activities and processes related to the delayed National Housing and Population Census,” he said.
He maintained that multiple acts of corruption and financial malpractices reported by the media and even highly placed individuals within LISGIS have not been treated with the required urgency by the President of Liberia, the board of directors and the legislatures is extremely sad.
“In March 2022, the Liberian media reported financial malpractices involving the top management and other executives of LISGIS, including but not limited to the Director General, Mr. Francis Wreh, and Deputy Director General for Administration, Mr. Lawrence George, Deputy Director General for Information and Coordination, Mr. Wilmot Smith and Comptroller, Mr. Dominic. Following months of through investigation, in June 2022, the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission forwarded a comprehensive report to Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Justice for indictment and prosecution of those concerned,” CENTAL boss explained.
He added that the investigated officials were allowed to continue presiding over LISGIS and activities and processes related to the long-awaited Census, and that individuals closely connected to some members of the board of LISGIS are reported to have received huge payments for so-called consulting and other services provided to the institution.
Meanwhile CENTAL recommends that the accounts of LISGIS be audited by the General Auditing Commission, especially those containing the Census funds from which the reported questionable disbursement payment have been made.
CENTAL boss also recommends that President Weah dismiss other officials of LISGIS named in the LACC investigative report, and that the Ministry of Justice be mandated by the President to timely act on the June 2022 investigative report from LACC covering corruption allegations against the leadership of LISGIS.
He at the same time applauded the press, the Liberians and development partners and other civil society organizations for being critical partners to them.