March 11, 2011
The Commission says while it appreciates mounting public concern about the re-nomination of its current Auditor General, it is compelled to comment because of the evolving wrong and misguided perspective about the re-nomination process in some quarters which hold that AG Morlu’s tenure is hinged to his contract with European Union (EU) rather than his nomination by President Sirleaf. Because some individuals with their own personal reasons best known to themselves hold the view that Morlu’s tenure is more about his EU contract, they wrongly argue that the European Union should first commit to funding the office of the Auditor General of Liberia before the President determines whether or not the extend Morlu’s tenure for another four years.
The Auditor General’s first four-year tenure expires at the end of April this year and his re-nomination for another term should not be an issue of guesswork and dilly-dallying since his handiworks of performance are clearly exhibited and even to the extent that President Sirleaf, the European Union(EU), UN Secretary of State, Kimoon, US Government, international community ,student organizations, marketers, civil society organizations, religious community continued to express great appreciate and admiration for his unwavering quest and commitment to help cleanse Liberia from the age-old corruption menace that has infested nearly all successive Liberian governments and ensuring effective and efficient system and control.
GAC says it wholeheartedly appreciates the high level of support the EU continues to provide the GAC and the AG in the fight for transparency and accountability in Liberia and that EU should not be dragged in Liberia’s the local politics by some wishful thinkers who may be bewitching, scheming, concocting and planning every second, minute and hour to remove another government official, AG Morlu, who continues to significantly add great value to the systemic corruption fight that President Sirleaf has vowed to crush with every force, courage, energy and determination.
The argument in some quarters that the European should re-commit its financial quota to government coffer for the support of the office of the Auditor General ahead of President Sirleaf’s determination of who should be the Auditor General is like putting the cart before the horse. The GAC believes before the European Union or any potential funder of the office of the Auditor General commits its support to the Auditor General, whoever it may be, it must be preceded by the President’s legal and Constitutional prerogative to appointto fill a legal positionsomething that will give the potential funder reason to renew or withdraw its support to the AG.
Responding to mounting worries and inquiries whether President Sirleaf will re-nominate Auditor General John S. Morlu, II, the GAC says it has no doubt about Morlu’s re-nomination because his sterling qualities, deeds and stewardship superbly demonstrated during his first tenure, widely acknowledged by the public, including the President of Liberia, provides ample assurance that the Auditor General is the first choice in the President’s fight against corruption and fiscal impunity in Liberia. The AG’s re-nomination squarely rests in legal purview of the President to do so directly and not on any other person, institution, and influence, acquiescence so as to maintain complete independence of the position of the AG as being done.
Section 53.2 is clear on the RENOMINATION matter: “The Auditor-General shall be appointed for a term of office for four years and shall be eligible for re-appointment.”
This is the Liberia of the Republic of Liberia. Contracts do not supersede laws and there cannot be any contract in the absence of re-nomination as indicated in the law.
AG Morlu has indicated time and time again that he is an experienced professional with extensive experience and exposure and so the issue of renomination should not be on the basis of a JOB. Instead it is about ending corruption and impunity in Liberia. The GAC is also grateful to note that today Liberians are not debating the post of Central Bank Governor or other tenure post in Liberia. Instead it is about whether AG Morlu will be re-nominated or not. This national debate in itself further demonstrates the value AG Morlu has brought to the post of Auditor General, the GAC and the overall issues of fighting fraud, waste and abuse in Liberia. AG Morlu has therefore created a legacy and all of GAC and the vast majority of Liberians and international partners are grateful for the leadership he has provided the GAC and in the areas of public financial management.
Essentially, the re-nomination is a constitutional matter, with the highest level of presidential prerogative. It has nothing to do whatsoever with the European Union. The EU has made it clear it will continue to finance the GAC. So the substantive issue is RE-NOMINATION by the President of Liberia, as indicated in Section 53.2 of the Executive Law of 1972.
Ernest S. Maximore
Director of Communications
General Auditing Commission (GAC)