- Published on Thursday, 11 July 2013 08:21
- Written by Sam Zota, Jr.
Liberians, on Monday, July 8, 2013 listened to President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in a rather brief, but strong worded statement announcing the dismissal of Liberia’s controversial Auditor General Robert Kilby, the Director General of the General Services Agency (GSA), Pearine Davis-Pakinson for conflict of interests.
However, for the sake of this article, I am going to try as much as possible to limit my writing to the controversial Auditor General, Robert Kilby and his ascendancy at the GAC. Permit me to state that this article seeks to bring to the public’s attention, the role of our former AG with no chauvinism and as I have always done on other national issues through this, and other mediums.
Brief Look at the GAC
Prior to 1956, the General Auditing Office (GAO) was established by an Act of the National Legislature, as the Bureau of Audits, to pre-audit requisitions, vouchers and payrolls in connection with the disbursement of public funds.
This was amended under Chapter 32, section 740-744 of the Executive Law of Liberia in 1956 to audit all accounts of the Government of Liberia in the manner prescribed in the Revenue and Finance Law of Liberia.
In 1972, the Executive Law of Liberia was amended, with Chapter 53, Sections 1-11, establishing the General Auditing Office (GAO). Under this law, the Auditor General was reporting directly to the President. However, in June 2005, an Act was passed to amend Chapter 53, Section 53.2 of the Executive Law of 1972 to create the General Auditing Commission (GAC).
The Act of 2005 created the GAC as an autonomous Commission reporting directly to the Legislature. The 2005 amendment makes Chapter 53 of the Executive Law complies with Article 89 of the 1986 Liberian Constitution, which named GAC as one of the three autonomous Commissions in Liberia.
However, this amendment did not bring the GAC to full compliance with the 1977 LIMA and the 2007 Mexico reaffirmation. In recognition of the limitation and the legal ambiguities of the June 2005 amendment, development partners through the GEMAP and under the leadership of the European Union engaged a Legal expert to draft a new Law that will enable the GAC to fully comply with the 1977 LIMA standards and the 2007 Mexico reaffirmation.
A brief Look At The Duties of the Auditor General (AG)
The functions of the Auditor General are derived from Chapter 53, section 53.3 of the 1972 Executive Law of Liberia. The Act states that, "The Auditor-General shall be the officer of the Government principally responsible for conducting comprehensive post audits, special financial investigations, reconciliations and analyses, and continuous audits on a routine basis. He shall; (a) "Once a year perform audits of all Government agencies and Government organizations and examine, to the extent he deems necessary, all transactions and accounts relating to the receipt, disbursement, and utilization of public monies; (b) "Perform audits of all property accounts and transactions of all Government agencies and Government organization; such audits shall be conducted as far as practicable at the place or places where the property and records are located and shall include an evaluation of the effectiveness of internal control and other methods of safeguarding the assets of the Government; (c) "Perform audits of withdrawals of money within the responsibility of the Government as stated in the appropriation acts or financial obligations by the order of Ministry of Finance.
(d) "Inspect the books of account of banks and financial institutions to verify the amounts of Government monies, securities, and other assets hypothetical or on deposit, or otherwise require written bank confirmations of Government monies, securities, and other assets under control of such banks or financial institutions, among others.
AG Kilby And His Ascendancy
Kilby became a very controversial figure following his appointment by President Sirleaf when he allegedly submitted questionable credentials at his confirmation hearing. The reported submission of fake credentials by the former AG initially led to his uncompromising rejection by that August Body. However, following his rejection, the Auditor General was again, reappointed by the Chief Executive and sent to the same legislature for confirmation.
In her justification in 2012 for Kilby’s reappointment, President Sirleaf said she didn’t just want to go back to the old politics and appoint a political ally or appoint a political person because she had the constitutional right, but rather she wanted to get the best, competent person for the job. She said further that her intent was to also ensure that people with integrity are appointed for the job.
This time, AG Kilby’s confirmation was one of the fastest confirmation that was ever seen in the history of the Liberian Senate, amidst speculations that ‘money or brown envelops’ may have changed hands or interplayed for the easy confirmation of the AG.
However, be it as it may, AG Kilby assumed responsibility at the country’s supreme auditing house starting with the dismissal of over forty (40) employees of that institution for ‘budgetary constraint’ faced by the GAC. Again, this was greeted with mixed reactions from the dismissed employees, politicians, the public and other sympathizers on various grounds.
Some argued that the AG’s action was untimely and unjustifiable, while others alleged that Kilby’s action was intended to replace the dismissed employees with relatives and friends.
Kilby’s decision to have dismissed the over 40 employees was not only met with mixed reactions, but also marred by series of protest actions at the offices of the GAC, the National Legislature and other places without positive results. Following that, Kilby reportedly began what he considered as a rigorous reform process at the GAC with changes on the institution’s logo, among others.
Strangely though, Kilby immediately doubled the salaries and benefits of his friends who were brought into the system.
Kilby disgraceful dismissal by the President is in connection with ‘conflict of interest’ in awarding of government’s contracts to his private company.
Liberian leader said, the action of the AG was in violation of the public financial management and procurement laws of Liberia.
President Sirleaf said: “After review of documentary evidence over the weekend, I am today formally requesting the concurrence of the Honorable Legislature to dismiss the Auditor General, Robert Kilby, for failure to disclose private business activities that represent a clear conflict of interest with his official duties as Head of the institution with prime responsibility to investigate and advise on non-compliance with our public financial management and procurement laws…I am communicating to the Legislature the causes for this dismissal”.
Kilby’s dubious action did not only disappoint the President, but also the Liberian people as enshrined in the GAC’s mission statement.
The mission statement of the GAC states: “Promote and defend the public interest. The GAC will bring integrity, accountability, transparency and fiscal probity to public service through the conduct of audits. We will restore public confidence in Government by fighting fraud, waste and abuse of public resources. We will work to end corruption.” He was dismissed along with Director General of the General Services Agency (GSA) Pearine Davis-Parkinson who awarded the contract. Madam Parkinson admitted to the House’s Ways, Means and Finance Committee that the GSA entered into a contact with Kilby’s accounting Firm Independent Software Certification Institute to carry out Asset and Fleet management, Tracking and reporting system at the GSA. Her action was also in violation of the procurement procedures of the government.
The contract amongst many other requirement states that: “The contractor is convenient that it has the requisite training, expertise, and technical competence in the trade and performed similar work in both Liberia and the United States of America; that is to customize the development of a software that will automate the owner’s asset and fleet tracking and reporting system for the GSA into consideration, strategic national security interest.”
The contract also states that Kilby’s Firm was to receive the amount of two hundred and twenty thousand United States dollars (USD$ 220,000) based on the scope of work indicated in the proposal. It was agreed between the company and the GSA that the money should have been paid by installment. The contractor agreed to pay up to forty percent (40%) of the above stated price, which is the equivalent of eighty-eight thousand three hundred-sixty United States dollars (USD$ 88,360) prior to the commencement of the work.
In conclusion, in as much as I believe that the President’s action against Kilby and others was laudable, I also believe that the former AG dubious role at the GAC did not only betray the public trust and confidence, but also it was criminal in nature which warrants prosecution.
If the fight against corruption must be won, I am of the conviction that Kilby and others should be turned over to the Ministry of Justice for further investigation and subsequent prosecution.
Let the case of Robert Kilby and others not be treated like other corruption cases where individuals were asked to resign, re-assigned or dismissed with no further actions. Once again, Madam President, your action against these officials is laudable, but I kindly request that you turn them over to the Ministry of Justice for immediate prosecution. God bless Mama-Liberia. (PEACE).
- Published on Friday, 24 May 2013 06:39
- Written by Prince Parker
...Rev. Dr. Kortu K. Brown
The death of Archbishop Emeritus Michael Kpakala Francis is a blow to not just the church but the nation as a whole. His was a life dedicated to the cause of humanity. He was concerned about the sick, inmates, depressed, hungry, etc, in accordance with St. Matthew 26:31-41.
He was selfless, fearless and desperate to see the country move forward. No wonder his voice for social justice stood so strong until it resonated across and beyond our borders.
As a founding member of the Liberian Council of Churches, he was concerned about all churches in the country. I remembered during the last rounds of exchange of gun-fires in Monrovia, it was the late Bishop Francis who called me to ask about the status of New Water in the Desert Assembly facility in Brewerville, Montserrado County, and if I had the rumors he heard - that it was burnt down. I told him no, it wasn't burnt down but looted.
The Most Reverend Michael Francis established the first Catholic church in western Liberia where I hail from through Father Jenkins Garry, a tiring servant of the Lord. That one effort coming at the time of the closure of the erstwhile Liberia Mining Company (LMC) in 1977 has led to countless other church stations in that region to the glory of God.
His ailment brought sadness but his work was over. The Lord God Almighty seized on His glory the reason for which righteous people suffered at times, a study in Theodicy, a branch of Theology focus on that subject. We all loved him but God love him best. He has taken him home to rest.
May his soul rest in peace and light perpetual shine on him.
- Published on Friday, 04 January 2013 07:16
- Written by The News
-A Christmas Message From LCC
The Liberian Council of Churches reminds us once again to celebrate Christmas in remembrance of the fullness of the Love of God that He showered unto us by giving us His son…John 3:16….Christmas should rekindle in us the joy of a Savior born in Bethlehem unto Mary who was betrothed to Joseph. A Child who reconciled us with God and made us (humankind) whole once again after the fall of Adam and Eve from the very beginning.
- Published on Thursday, 25 April 2013 07:45
- Written by Christopher Z Neyor President & CEO, Morweh Energy Group, Inc
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen; One and ALL:
I would like to thank this visionary young Liberian Checago Bright Sawo and the excellent Checago he founded for inviting to this rural town to dedicate the hand pumps and latrines they have made possible for the people of this community.
- Published on Thursday, 27 December 2012 06:55
- Written by J. Andrew Lablah
THE PATRIOT'S PLATFORM
From The National Initiative for Peaceful Elections in Liberia (NIPEL)
Some people often lack the ability to converse about subjects that matter deeply to them without getting into a dispute.
- Published on Monday, 18 March 2013 08:54
- Written by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf
My Fellow Liberians:
Today, March 15, we celebrate the 204th birth anniversary of our nation's first President, Joseph Jenkins Roberts, whose legacy is closely associated with the education of Liberia's children. In his Last Will and Testament, he set up the Joseph Jenkins Roberts Educational Foundation.
- Published on Thursday, 20 December 2012 07:01
- Written by Sam Zota, Jr./email@example.com
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf over the weekend presented a Christmas bonus of US$50,000.00 to officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP), but cautioned that the money is not intended for the directors and senior officers of the LNP.
- Published on Friday, 08 March 2013 09:02
- Written by The News
Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai on Friday, March 1, 2013 launched the 13 – module Liberia Youth Employment Proghram (LYEP) in Kakata, Margibi County.
- Published on Wednesday, 05 December 2012 07:26
- Written by Joe Bartuah
It seems that some political neophytes are bent on a sort of political blackmailing in Monrovia. They are shamelessly seeking what amounts to a political ransom and the unsuspecting Liberian electorate are their obvious hostages. Some of those involved in this scheme had in the past, declared themselves as millionaires. At least on one occasion, one of them claimed to have been a “billionaire”, even though I am not quite sure whether this particular gentleman knows how many zeroes are in a billion.