The Corporate Side Of Corruption

By Gbe Sneh


The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
January 9, 2006


The adage literally reads, “We Talk Here, To Talk Over There.” We’ve heard it similarly expressed as, “It Takes Two To Tango.” Recently the news is dominated by the uproar on public corruption. But, often times the corrupt public official has a silent partner, the corrupt private corporation. It is now time to let these private corporations know that we are also aware of their role in fueling the nationwide corruption.

It is a collusive scheme involving the tax payer and the tax collector It is illustrated by this simple question and answer: How are you going to clear your container of goods? ANSWER: But I know people at the Free Port; I will just give them “something”. Here, we can establish that the businessman is the originator of the scam. He has a well thought out plan to do business - bribe his way out of taxes. Let’s sum that up: the public worker gains; the businessman gains; THE PEOPLE LOSE.

A possible scam could start with the falsification of a bill of laden. For instance, the bill of laden shows half a million gallons of gasoline, but the businessman importer presents, or is allowed to present, for tax assessment, a bogus document showing just half the amount. Tax on the difference, which now is off the records, is split between the tax collector and the importer. In a worse case scenario, if the tax collector tears and throws away the document (a common practice, just ask EC auditors), it turns into a “DOUBLE DIDIBA” (tax revenue plus bribe)!. Now one can get a tiny glimpse of how filthy rich some of our corrupt officials are.

These corrupt partners think what they do (alter) to the bill of laden on the last leg of its journey cannot be caught. They must know that the bill can be tracked from the tax collector to the taxpayer to the Free Port to the shipping company to the exporter. They only hope to get away with it. And they get away with it when we don’t make the effort to complete the tracking of the bill. Hopefully GEMAP will have the energy to do so.

How else is a corrupt corporation cheating us? What happens in the last paragraph is just for storage and processing fees. The business now has to cut another deal on its revenue taxes. Enters the another corrupt official, the State Auditor. In this instance, a bribe paid by the corporation yields underreporting of corporate revenues, which leads to underpayment of taxes. That completes a “DOUBLE WHAMMY” for the company - a cheat on storage fees plus taxes.

We could go on and on, citing unending examples of these business cheating scams. The key point is to raise an awareness that businesses play a major role in corruption. Thus, we need to subject them to the same rigorous scrutiny as public agencies with which they interact. The Lexus that the CEO of a private corporation uses to dodge pot-holes on the streets of Monrovia could very well have been paid for with our tax dollars.

Corrupt private companies do not care about the welfare of the people. It is safe to say that they welcome a state of lawlessness, which creates unrest in the land, and then, like migratory birds, fly away to perch in a neighboring country. In hibernation they wait, watch, and listen for a safe time to fly back to the old nest, to foment a new round of lawlessness. They have a penchant for supporting corrupt officials; they wine and dine them. Accountability, transparency, integrity, rule of law, are not to be expected of only public figures; they must also be required of businesses, both domestic and foreign.

Corrupt official and corrupt business is a marriage that we must force a divorce on.
To the people, let’s just say this: The next time you see a public figure drinking cold beer “behind the counter”, run fast to go and call the newsman to bring his camera to flash him! Every time we talk, they say we must show proof. Now we know what to do.

BOOM! What’s that noise?
Just moments before this article was scheduled for publication, a bomb shell of a COPORATE FRAUD hit the nation - BOOM! The Liberian Observer just released this article, Haddad Linked to 'Money-Laundering'. This is exactly what we are talking about.

If this sonic boom is not loud enough to wake us up from our slumber, it would be hard to imagine what else would.