Emotional Farewell: GAC Speaks Tough At Morlu Honoring Ceremony

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
May 6, 2011


Auditor General John S. Morlu II
The war against corruption, which President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf declared during her inauguration six years ago when she besmirched the pandemic as the nation’s number one enemy, has been defining itself in the controversy sparked by the President’s decision not to re-nominate ongoing Auditor General John Morlu. Questions are being raised whether or not the President’s decision on Morlu, which some analysts consider a sack, will affect the acknowledged uncompromising mode of operandi and rigorous audit style which Morlu imbued into the GAC and which the President has expressly disagreed with. Caught in the crossfire is the workforce which Morlu has molded and which an incoming Auditor General to be appointed by President Sirleaf will work with. But the temperature of the farewell program held in Morlu’s honor by the workforce at his Sinkor residence and the temperament of the speakers shed some light, as Our Senior Staff Writer reports.

The club elevation wing of John Morlu’s residence on 16th Street played scene to avant-garde sensation Saturday when throngs of General Auditing Commission (GAC) staff assembled to finally bid farewell their boss of the last four years.

A staff of the Commission described the ceremony in an email syndicated: “Staff of the GAC Saturday climaxed their celebration of their boss' exit from the Commission with a grand farewell ceremony. Before the gates of fanfare were open for the predominantly young staff, speeches were made. Strong ones! The staff clapped and some held up their firmly wrapped fists in the vacant air. What message were they sending? Staff swarmed the outgoing Auditor General, taking photos with him--carving souvenirs of the fleeting and tumultuous times which they had with their boss during the last four years. Employees embraced each other firmly.”

President Sirleaf discontinued with what would possibly have been Morlu’s second four-year tenure on account of her “disagreement” with the “mode of operations” of the outgoing Auditor General.

The President Sirleaf and Morlu have been sailing on rough waters, since the Auditor General in 2007 declared the President’s administration three times more corrupt than its predecessor and when Morlu forensically critiqued the 2007/08 budget declaring it far cry from adequate disclosure.

It is not clear whether those interventions of Morlu caused the lukewarm reception which President Sirleaf accord bundles of audit reports produced by the GAC under Morlu.

Amid the tension that marred the relationship between Morlu and Sirleaf, and the four-year tenure of the outgoing Auditor General, President Sirleaf tendered her loathe and expressed her reluctance to renew his tenure for another period.

Morlu finally walked out of the GAC on 27 April and for this reason the personnel he recruited to help to do it job over the weekend held a rather emotional farewell ceremony.

George H. Nubo
Kicking up the speeches was the Chief Operations Officer, George H. Nubo, who told the assembly of emotionally charged GAC employees that “the foundation that Morlu built and left with us is irreversible; not even President Sirleaf can change it”.

Nubo said: “This is a time for celebration; it is not a time to weep. Morlu fought for transparency and accountability, something that the world today widely acknowledge and highly appreciate.”

The crowd of employees chanted revolutionary songs as the speeches roll on.

“This is a time of celebration because we have won,” the GAC COO said. “We have taken the war to the doorsteps of the forces of graft and corruption; those that should weep are those whose fiscal misdeeds are exposed; those who are shamed.”

The man who is named to temporarily head the GAC, Deputy Auditor General Winsley Nanka, further charged the revolutionary fervor of GAC staff when, in remarks, said: “We are resolved to do what John has done a million times. And if anyone, whether he lives on Mars, Jupiter and any part of the wider space and believes that John’s departure will divert us or cool off from his mode operations, he will be kidding.”

Nanka intimated that the GAC workforce is firmly poised to continue where Morlu left it, fighting hard without waver to keep on the war against corruption flaming unabated.

In a special statement delivered on behalf of the staff, GAC chief communication officer Sherman C. Seequeh recounted a litany of “revolutionary strides” which Morlu made while at the GAC.

Liberia’s economic transformation drive with emphasis on anti-corruption fight which you launched in 2007, coupled with its fruits and beneficiaries, is not ours to recount. Well-meaning Liberians behold it—and will cherish it forever. The world community acknowledges it and will forever use it as trigger for continued partnership here.

The statement recounts: “United Nations Secretary General, Ban Kin Moon, in most of his reports to the Security Council, has repeatedly testified to your forthrightness and commitment in exposing government’s fiscal weaknesses; something the United Nations chief spokesman believes puts the government in a better position to find solution.

“European Union (EU), less than 3 months back, during a visit at the GAC described your work as superb and expressed its unflinching commitment and support to you and the GAC.

“Just few days ago, one of the international community’s respected watchdog organization, Global Witness, indicated in a communication to the President of Liberia, that it was impressed by, quote, “the quality of audits conducted by the General Auditing Commission (GAC) under the leadership of John Morlu and is concerned that the great work of the Commission may be jeopardised by Mr Morlu’s departure”.

“A senior state department official last December paid tribute to your erudite leadership at the GAC which was able to, in his words, “effectively and sufficiently audit government ministries and agencies and tracked all government resources”.

Even in spite of President Sirleaf’s confessed disagreements with you on your “mode of operations”, she told the people of Liberia on January 25, 2011 that the GAC under your leadership, quote: “has been unwavering in its commitment and dedication to the fulfillment of its mandate”.

“The Search for Common Ground/Talking Drum Studio of Liberia in its 2010 Survey on Public Perception and knowledge on Corruption on the General Auditing Commission(GAC) shows that 93.4% of those sampled either ‘agree’ or ‘strongly agree’ that “public confidence in the government has increased since the creation of the GAC.” In addition, 70% of the individuals surveyed feel that the actions of the GAC are reducing corruption in Liberia.

‘In 2009, Global Integrity, a revered international think tank, rated the GAC under you as the most highly performing Government institution. This survey report by the Global Integrity was corroborated by another international civil society organization, the Collaborative Africa Budget Reform Initiative (CABRI) which also recognized your efforts in budget and aid transparency, which the group believes has added significant value to public Financial Management reform in Liberia--playing central roles in shaping policies. You were a key ideologue in the evolution and development of PFM Law and its subsequent passage by the National Legislature.”

Morlu himself in brief remarks called on the GAC staff to keep the focus and their integrity, which he believes is all they have do to make the GAC what he strived to achieved.

“I was successful because I put integrity over job,” Morlu said. “As I always told you, I integrity is all you need to survive. All is not about job. Jobs will always come, but when your integrity is ruined, you are finished for life.”

© 2011 by The Perspective
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