Liberia: CENTAL Welcomes President Weah’s Dismissal Action At LISGIS, Demands More Actions to Ensure Credibility and Integrity of 2022 Census

Monrovia — The Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL) has welcomed President Weah dismissal of two of LISGIS Bosses, Wilmot Smith and Alex Williams, and called on Pres. Weah to ensure credible census 2022.

Both men, Mr. Wilmot Smith, Former Acting Director General and Deputy Director Alex Williams were dismissed on Monday by President Weah on grounds of administrative reasons.

Mr. Anderson Miamen, CENTAL Executive Director, addressing a press conference on Wednesday, said: “although belated, CENTAL welcomes the decision of President Weah to dismiss Mr. Wilmot Smith, one of the individuals primarily responsible for the problem created at LISGS, which has brought so much embarrassment to Liberians, the Government, and the Country at large.”

He said had the President listened to earlier recommendations from citizens, civil society, and other stakeholders for dismissal and prosecution of those accused and investigated for multiple acts of corruption, the problems at the institution would not have degenerated to the current level.

According to the CENTAL Boss: “though we welcome the President’s dismissal decision, but we strongly believe that the action is limited in scope and it should be broadened to include all those who have been at the center of alleged and confirmed incidences of corruption and incompetence at the institution, including the Director General, Comptroller and other officials.

He further said Liberians deserve better from their government and those entrusted with specific responsibilities, the officials of LISGIS in this instant case for several months, 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 mal-practices.

He said 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.

CENTAL Recommendations

CENTAL therefore recommends the followings as measures that will help to restore public trust and confidence in LISGIS, especially activities and processes related to conduct of the 2022 Census:

CENTAL has also called for the accounts of LISGIS be audited by the General Auditing Commission, especially those containing the Census funds from which the reported questionable disbursements/payments have been made. Such Audit should be immediate and timely and the recommendations fully implemented to ensure proper accountability of public resources and assets.

They further called on President George Weah to dismiss other officials of LISGIS named in the LACC investigative report that are equally responsible for the problem at LISGIS to not be allowed to continue presiding over activities related to the Census, including Mr. Lawrence George who has been named by the President to at act as head of the institution.

Also, that the Ministry of Justice be mandated by the President to timely act on the June 2022 investigative report from the Liberian Anti-Corruption Commission covering corruption allegations against the leadership of LISGIS. Had the recommendations of the LACC’s Report been fully implemented, the worsening state of the mess at LISGIS would have been averted.

They are however calling on the President of Liberia to establish an independent panel/committee with a mandate to review the entire preparatory processes around the Census to identify and recommend solutions to existing gaps that may further undermine the robustness, integrity and sanctity of the 2022 Census. Such committee should comprise of credible Liberians, civil society organizations, the Religious Community and other players not currently involved with the work of LISGIS.

Lastly, the group is calling on Pres. Weah to warn the Board of Directors of LISGIS against getting directly involved with dealings of the institution. Reports of individuals closely connected to some members of the Board of LISGIS receiving consultancy services from the institution undermines their ability to make timely and independent decision (s) on critical issues bordering on the entity.

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