LINSU, FLY and ULSU Issue Joint Statement On Morlu's Renormination as the Auditor General of Liberia

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
March 11, 2011



We present greetings and compliments of the Students and youths of Liberia.

Madam President, the attention of the youth and student Movement in Liberia has been drawn to speculations, publications, arguments and counter- arguments on the re-nomination of the Auditor General of Liberia, John S. Morlu, II. Particularly worrying is the media reports and speculations that he is contemplating not returning to Liberia due to the speculations and arguments about his re-nomination.

The students and youths of Liberia represented by LINSU and FLY and other stakeholders call on you to thoughtfully and cautiously consider the re-nomination of the Current Auditor General, John S. Morlu, II which squarely finds its foundation in the interest of the Liberian State. We make this call on the basis of the following factual and indisputable reasons:

1. It is undoubtedly that Auditor General Morlu has made great strides in pushing for budget transparency within the government. Many Liberians and international partners credit him for bringing the National Budget to the people of Liberia with intervention in the National Budget in 2007. Many Legislators and Liberians referenced his intervention as an “eye opener” as until with his intervention during your administration, the National Budget was a secret economic document only seen by the political elites. It was therefore befitting and pleasing that you mentioned and thanked the National Legislature for the openness of the National Budget as Liberia is today highly rated by the Open Budget Index, which was not the case in 2007 when the Auditor General made his first intervention and indicated that the National Budget should take into consideration the parameters established by the Open Budget Index, an organization that tracked budget transparency across Government.

2. For the last four years, the Current Auditor General, John S. Morlu, II has performed his duties and mandates of the Office of the Auditor General without fear or favor thereby winning the confidence of the Liberian people, the GOL and international partners. Global Integrity rate the General Auditing Commission of Liberia in 2009 as the most highly performing Government institution. The Collaborative Africa Budget Reform Initiative (CABRI) has also recognized the efforts of Auditor General Morlu in budget and aid transparency.

3. The Auditor General has added significant value to public Financial Management reform in Liberia- playing central roles in shaping policies. This included his initial proposal for PFM Law and his active participating in working with both the Ministry of Finance and the National Legislature in drafting the PFM Act and its subsequent Legislation.

4. In four years, the current Auditor General has created a robust Supreme Audit Institution that has gained the respect of national and international stakeholders. The Association of Auditors and Accountants General in West Africa rated GAC as a model Supreme Audit Institution, giving it a world class status.

5. The GAC under this Auditor General played a championing role in moving Liberia to HIPC Completion Point thereby taking Liberia the much needed and heralded debt relief.

6. Auditor General John S. Morlu, II has proved your single important partner on your government’s war on corruption. Even though there may have been differences in approaches, his intervention in government’s efforts against Graft and corruption has been very positive and rewarding. You indicated in your State of the Nation Address that the work of the GAC under the leadership of this Auditor General has enabled Government to jump several steps in the Transparency International Corruption Index.

7. The Auditor General, been very young could have easily chosen the path of compromise with corrupt public officials like many of his predecessors. This would have endeared him to many at the detriment of your government and the Liberian People. He could have easily taken bribes from corrupt and financially potent auditees. To the contrary, he has chosen the patriotic and nationalistic Path of being a champion and pioneering figure against corruption in government.

8. Through the Auditor general, the government, in the last four years has had a self correcting mechanism to deal with instances of graft and corruption in the public sector. This uncompromising stance has evidently created a lot of enemies for this young and rare professional Liberian.

9. In your last State of the Nation Address to the Liberian National Legislature, you succinctly and correctly asserted the role of the current Auditor General when you indicated clearly that it was you who created the GAC and the GAC under the current leadership has remained committed unwavering, and dedicated to your mission of fighting, waste and abuse. We want to thank you for this recognition of service to the GAC and the Auditor General and his staff. This was a true mark of National leadership.

10. Recently, ambassadors of the 27 European Union countries which have Missions in Liberia Express their Satisfaction of the performance of the Auditor General and the GAC. They indicated their unwavering support to the GAC for the next Three years. This because the Auditor General has remained committed to his Terms of Reference, going far beyond the call of duty.

11. Recently, a Senior State Department Official described the work of the Current Auditor General in tracking government revenue as efficient and thorough. He indicated that Liberia’s Auditor General has “efficiently and effectively” audited Government institutions and tracked all revenues sources.

12. Secretary General of UN, Ban Ki-Moon has highlighted the good work of the Auditor General in nearly all his reports since 2008 with his last two recent reports indicating that the Auditor General report has uncovered extensive internal control weaknesses in Government, giving Government the substantive basis to take remedial actions.

13. The Auditor General during the course of his duties has always been more than willing in assisting other government agencies in putting in place systems and controls in the management of public resources. He has done so through drafting of Basic Internal Controls and through management advice to improve system and controls across Government.

14. The Auditor General has made several personal sacrifices: for instance, he has used the same vehicle for the entire of his four year tenure while many other government officials have changed vehicles every year. He and his staff has worked under one of the worst condition in Government but have remained committed to producing high quality audit and other reports and publish them in a timely manner as spelled in the Auditor General’s mandate, Section 37 of the PFM Act and the GEMAP produced Terms of Reference for the Auditor General.

15. The Auditor General has also inspired a lot of young people by serving as a positive influence. He is also a forerunner of professional of Liberians. He has successfully sent out for graduate studies more than 40 Liberians- this was done from meager GAC resources from the National budget and by his own personal efforts to form MoUs with universities in Africa and America. This is unprecedented and selfless.

16. It is also not disputed that Auditor General Morlu has elevated the GAC to international standards, with a personal invitation to him by the Head of the United States General Accountability Office to discuss areas of mutual cooperation and support. Auditor General Morlu was also invited to form part of the drafting of Level Three Standards for Supreme Audit Institution, in Olso, Norway because of his vast experience, understanding and appreciation of public sector auditing. Auditor General Morlu has also completely integrated GAC into the Auditor Generals community, including INTOSAI, AFROSAI, and AFROSAI-E. He sought support from DFID to pay off all of GAC dues dating as far back as the 1980s, thus paving the way for more than 60 GAC staff that travelled and benefitted from trainings sponsored by these international Organizations.

17. Auditor General Morlu has also brought a high level professionalism to the work of the GAC, beginning with a competitive recruitment process that provide fair play to many Liberian youth who were employed and lacking connection to obtain jobs in Government and elsewhere. Auditor General Morlu created a competitive space in Government giving students and youths the opportunity to benefit from the massive training support provided by the European Union, under the auspices of the GEMAP.

18. Auditor General Morlu also further strengthened the professionalism of the audit and accounting profession in Liberia, as he was the first Auditor General to formally adopt the international standards on auditing as prescribed by INTOSAI and recommended for the Government to formally adopt international public sector accounting standards. By his efforts, both the auditing and accounting professional have gained respect and admiration in Liberia, a far cry from the past and a credit to the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf led administration.

19. Furthermore, Auditor General professionalized the work of the GAC when he first created a 2 Year Blue Print to serve as a guide for the work of the GAC and scrupulously followed its implementation. He also translated the Blue Print in a Five Year Strategic Plan (SP), modeling after well performing SAIs and Government institutions in the West and Africa. He has also insisted on the full implementation of the SP, with massive support and commitment from the European Union.

20. We have learned that the Auditor General was nominated to serve as Under Secretary General of the UN for oversight and he was offered the post of Chief Investigator. This is the demonstration of the value placed on the work of the Auditor General to be nominated to serve in a second political post and first professional post at the UN. As Liberian youth, this is remarkable and it gives us hope for the future, although we were quite happy to have convinced the Auditor General to stay on to complete his duties in mother Liberia as we still have more work to be done on the accountability and transparency front.

21. Auditor General Morlu has maintained cordial and professional working relationship with the National Legislature, supporting the work of the Legislature in several areas including budget analysis, draft laws etc. It was therefore pleasing that the Liberian Senate took his re-nomination issue and debated it on the floor of the Liberian Senate, thus signaling the support he also enjoyed from that august body.

22. The Auditor General, John Morlu has also created a platform to showcase the intelligence of young professionals who are nurtured and refined to understand the ramifications of financial maneuverings. He has demonstrated that, by providing employment along with training opportunities (local and international) for young people who constitute over 90% of the current staff at the GAC.

Madam President, we could go and list several more accomplishments of the current Auditor General.

We, as student and youth communities, totally agreed that corruption is systemic and that you inherited over 160 years of corruption and broken system of financial governance.

The fact remains that corruption, in all its form, has undermined the collective well being of all Liberians for over 163 years and has been used as reason for many of our civil wars and crisis. We are therefore glad to have a partnership between you and the Auditor General in finally and completely eradicating the corruption mess so that the well being of all Liberians can be enhanced. We strongly believe that getting rid of an unwavering and dedicated Auditor General could be a severe setback in our collective fight against corruption and impunity.

The presence of Auditor General John Morlu is a deterring factor as he has demonstrated that he is committed to uncovering and exposing corruption wherever it is practiced and by whom it is practiced as well as fixing the system and controls that have created the enormous opportunity for people to abuse public office and corrupt the system of financial governance.

Madam President, for you not to consider re-nominating the Auditor General who is clearly regarded as the most important anti-corruption symbol of this government’s fight against corruption and abuse of public resources will send the very wrong signal that all the pronouncements about corruption fight have been a big lip service.

We are of the ardent conviction that you will rise to the occasion and re-nominate the Auditor General, John S Morlu, II for the overall good of Liberia and its people. For us as students and youth leaders, it is not about protecting an Auditor General’s job as we know he has the exposure, experience, academic and professional qualification to find a job elsewhere as young person.

It is about the overall National Interest, a national interest that required an unbending commitment to fight corruption. It is hard to imagine another person who can easily stand up to a system and endured so much insults, intimidation and personal inconvenience for a cause greater than himself. Auditor General Morlu has been a strong partner to the student and youth community as we all fight to better the life of the Liberian people by ending social ills, especially corruption that has impoverished our country and our people for 160 plus years.

We also know that Auditor General John Morlu was labeled as the “mouth piece” in the Diaspora for the candidacy of President Ellen Johnson during the 2005 elections and during the early years of the administration. He also disagreed with youth and student leaders as well as Civil Society Organizations and the media on many issues, in defense of the Ellen Johnson administration with you indicating to the newspapers that the best person you like to read is the writings of John S. Morlu II. So we do not support Auditor General Morlu as we too have had several disagreements with him before he became Auditor General, so was the media and civil society. But our disagreements have always remained professional devoid of personal attacks. We therefore hope that you consider our recommendation for re-nomination for the overall national interest and with urgency.

Yours, Sincerely,

For the Youth and Students of Liberia,

1. Singed:_______________________________

Kwame Emmanuel Ross, President

Liberia National Student Union LINSU

2. Signed_________________________________

Augustus Zayzay, President
Federation of Liberian Youth, FLY

3. Signed________________________________

Joash T. Hodges, President
University of Liberia Students Union, ULSU

Hon. Alex Tyler,

H.E. Ellen Ljoi, SRSG

H.E Attilio Pacifici, Ambassador of the EU to Liberia

H.E Linda Thomas Greenfield, Ambassador of the U.S. to Liberia

H.E The ambassador of the ECOWAS Commission to Liberia

H.E the Ambassador of the African Union to Liberia

H.E. Ellen Ljoi, SRSG
Special Representative of the UN Secretary General to Liberia
Pan African Plaza, 1st Street
Sinkor, Monrovia

H.E Attilio Pacifici, Ambassador of the EU to Liberia
European Commission
Mamba Point, Monrovia

H.E Linda Thomas Greenfield, Ambassador of the U.S. to Liberia
American Embassy
Mamba Point, Monrovia

H.E Ambassador of the ECOWAS Commission to Liberia
ECOWAS Commission
Congo Town, Monrovia

H.E Ambassador of the African Union to Liberia
10th Street, Sinkor
Monrovia, Liberia

© 2011 by The Perspective

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