LPRC Applauded for opening itself up to scrutiny, but...

A Letter From Nyankor Matthew

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
January 26, 2007


Dear Editor:

This letter is in response to Mrs. Mary K. Fofanan’s article, “The fuss over LPRC financials-how Greaves is correct”. As quoted by Ms. Fofanan, “After all, we have not standards accounting principle or public reporting standards to measure LPRC financials against. So why hold Greaves to standards that do not exist? So, again, what is the fuss with Harry Greaves, when there are no standards? At least Greaves has tried to put out something out for us all to chew on”.

Let me first start off by saying that I applaud LPRC for opening itself up to scrutiny, but this is something that is long overdue, and the lack of standards in Liberia it’s not a good enough reason to feed the Liberian people anything and expect us to get excited about that. The fuss on part Ms. Fofanan, has to do with the fact that I expect more –in terms of performance- from Mr. Greaves. Mr. Greaves –including some of the people on his management team - is a well traveled, highly exposed, and well connected man; therefore I expect more from him. Why do you think so many Liberians are unwilling to cut President Johnson Sirleaf a slack when it comes to dealing with corruption? Because we expect more from her, and have challenged her to set the bar higher.

Many individuals with financial background working in Liberia have some level of western education, and without a doubt have been exposed to various international financial standards in their field, therefore I won’t excuse anyone of them for publishing incomplete financial statements. If LPRC‘s management needs help constructing a decent financial statement (as well connected as Mr. Greaves is) I am positive that he knows a friend, and if he doesn’t know a friend, his friend knows at least one friend who knows a financial analyst or an accountant. Quite frankly, until those numbers are audited, I personally could care less about the financial statements, because we all know for years our public corporations have become experts at “voodoo accounting”.

Allow me to call your attention to the European Union audit of NPA (National Port Authority). Included in this audit document is a copy of NPA’s unaudited comprehensive annual financial report present by NPA to the EU auditors in 2004.

Take a look at the format and you’ll see that NPA followed a reporting format that’s very similar to U.S. reporting format–although somewhat basic. There is a table of contents, an introduction, executive summary or management discussion and analysis, other details, and notes to the financial statements. If the NPA was able to follow some kind of standard in 2003, 2004, why is it that Mr. Greaves could not get his team of accountants and financial analyst to publish a decent financial statement – even if unaudited? I refused to accept that Mr. Greaves has accountants and financial analysts at LPRC who are unaware of international accounting and reporting standards. There are many areas outside of the financial services where Liberia doesn’t have established standards; however it doesn’t mean that the Liberian people should accept mediocrity. What did Mr. Greaves expect in publishing incomplete financial statements without even explaining to us some of the assumptions behind the numbers, or telling us that the statements are incomplete? Did he expect that we would “chew” on it without raising some questions? Mr. Greaves could have avoided the debate over whether or not his financial statements are in accordance with international standards by simply issuing a disclaimer to the public.

The issue here for me is more than just financial statements and reporting standards. For too long we have not challenged our leaders to become innovators, outside the box thinkers, and trail blazers, instead we have made excuses for them by saying that they have done their best; and look were their best has taken us. In this new century we need to challenge our leaders to do more than just their best. This is the twenty firs century, and if Liberia wants to compete with the rest of the world, we the people must challenge our leaders to rise to the occasion instead of making excuses for their performance/leadership, because as someone once said,” Excuses are tools of incompetence, that build monuments of emptiness, which have values on nothingness and those who specializes in using them, seldom amount to anything”.

Nyankor Matthew

© 2007 by The Perspective
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