By: Augustine N. Myers – In the wake of controversies surrounding the re-nomination of Liberia’s Auditor-General, John S. Morlu II, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has finally taken the cat out of the bag by announcing that she will not re-nominate the Auditor General, as his contract expires in April.
Mr. Morlu who is hired by the Liberian Government and paid by the European Union (EU), has been very critical of the Sirleaf-led Government in its fight against corruption, thereby describing the Government as being three times corrupt than its predecessor, the National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL), upon assuming the new post.
The debates on Mr. Morlu’s re-nomination began tense following a recent letter to the President by the Auditor General, in which he was quoted to have insulted the Presidency, even though Mr. Morlu claimed his email was tempered with.
President Sirleaf in a Press Statement to the Nation over the week-end on the expiration of the employment contract of Auditor-General, John S. Morlu II, said she will not be re-nominating Mr. Morlu for the post of Auditor-General of the Republic of Liberia.
According to the Liberian leader, the current Auditor-General, Mr. John S. Morlu II, was recruited and nominated by her in January 2007, confirmed by the Liberian Senate in February 2007 and assumed the position in March 2007.
She said her advice regarding the appointment, the European Union concluded an agreement with the Auditor-General to pay the salary for the first four years of the contract, with the understanding that the Liberian Government will assume this responsibility thereafter.
She thanked the European Union for ensuring that the Auditor-General’s compensation was lucrative and for providing other forms of support to the General Auditing Commission (GAC) for the past four years.
As part of the controversies, the Liberian leader said they did not always agree with the way Mr. Morlu performed his job, including an indictment that her Government was three times more corrupt than its predecessors, even before he officially commissioned his very first audit.
She however said, the Government continued to support him and want to sincerely thank him for his immense contributions to the fight against corruption.
According to her, their disagreements over Mr. Morlu’s mode of operation had never negated the fact that he has established a foundation that his successors can build upon in the fight against corruption.
She urged Liberians that whatever their differences and opinions, and whatever their motives and objectives, the Office of the President demands a certain amount of respect and she as Head of State of the Republic of Liberia, can do no less than assure that this is the case.
Additionally, the Liberian Leader said, as the fight against corruption will continue to demand a hefty amount of their time, energies, thoughts and resources, they can ill-afford needless distractions and controversies.
She therefore said in conformity with the Act, approved May 5, 2005, which changed the status of the General Auditing Commission, the Deputy Auditor-General will act in the capacity of the Auditor-General until, through a professional recruitment process, a new Auditor-General is nominated.
This, according to her, will ensure continuity in the work and independence of the General Auditing Commission.
The Liberian Chief Executive said, they will ask for continued financial and technical support of the European Union to the General Auditing Commission to enable them act even more effectively in fighting corruption and in pursuing appropriate legal action against those charged with financial malpractice in the 40-plus audit reports that have been concluded.