The Auditor General of the General Auditing Commission (GAC) has warned that the lack of transparency and accountability stand against the fight of COVID-19 in Liberia.
According to Madam Yusador S. Gaye, the lack of transparency and accountability potentially lead to public distrust in the use of resources allocated to the against COVID-19 because they are the foundation of democratic governance.
Madam Gaye made the statement on Thursday at the Edward Wilmot Blyden Forum organized by the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) under theme “ Dissecting Liberia’s Measures in the Fight against the COVID-19 Pandemic –how Transparency and Accountability can play a role in defeating the virus held at Icampus located on Carey Street, Monrovia.
“When you lose the trust of the public in the utilization of public funds as a result of the lack of accountability and transparency in the fight against the virus, there is no guarantee that the public will do or believe the messaging from the health authorities” she added.
Therefore, as we combat this pandemic, those at the helm of implementing government’s policy based financial measures should be seen as transparent and accountable to the public at all times.
Madam Gaye challenged those in charge of the fight against the pandemic to execute their duties and responsibilities with integrity and openness.
According to her, to instill public confidence in the measures being implemented in the fight against COVID-19, expenditure of public resources, contracts or agreements entered into by the government should be guided entirely by the Public Financial Management law, the Public Procurement and Concession Act of 2005 as amended and restated in 2010 and other relevant financial laws.
She asserted that accounting systems and internal control procedures should be instituted by those in charge of the governance of resources targeted to fight the virus.
Madam Gaye emphasized that Liberia cannot afford the consequences of a decline or non-adherence to accountability of resources provided by our international partners in the fight against the virus, noting that financial data, expenditure reports, contracts or agreements should be made public in the interest of accountability and transparency.
She revealed that GAC through her office has made several recommendations to the central government through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), the Executive Committee on Coronavirus (ECOC) and the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) to ensure effective accountability and transparency of COVID-19 funds.
She pointed out that a centralized financial management and control system will serve as a mitigating factor against the multiple self-accounting units with weak control environment that would be responsible for the disbursement of funds.