JOHN SEMBE MORLU, II
FORMER AUDITOR GENERAL OF LIBERIA
Happy Thanksgiving. I am not trying to ignore you or Liberia but this is time for business. 100 years from now, Liberia will still be around. As I we wait for turkey and fun time this Thanksgiving Day, I wanted to send you this note and this is final.
Interestingly, it was the same Thanksgiving Day in 2006, sitting in Richmond when I was called from Ivory Coast by the EU that I was selected as the AG after nearly a year of competition. Yes, it was Thanksgiving Day and I was in Richmond, as I am again today. History, huh! My youngest twin says always, “We should be thankful for what we have.
“The Bible says, ‘in all things, give God the Glory.’ And all this shall come to pass!
Anyway, as usual, on point and factual. I have always won on: Common Sense to Logic–to Facts (evidence and figures) to Law. All of you from GAC remembered me asking “what is your reliance?
The New Auditor General referenced an “EU Report” allegedly conducted in August 2011 and an “AFROSAI-E” report conducted in October 2012. Here again, I left GAC nearly two years and there was an interim administration for 16 months. There has been full two fiscal (budget) years since I left GAC. So how a current assessment of GAC in does has to do with Morlu?
I have tried to remain above the political games in Monrovia and concentrate on building up a book of business in a $14 trillion economy called America. But after so many of you have called me including senior members of the GAC to find out whether there was in fact an EU report.
But again, here is what EU last report under Morlu said, dated January 2010 prepared by EU Brussels : The Report is attached. I got it directly from Brussels and the report use the 1977 LIMA (reconfirmed in Mexico 2008) as the basis. LIMA gives 10 Principles as Standards for Supreme Audit Institutions. GAC met all except for FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE, which is outside of GAC powers. Here are the salient points:
- “CAVEATS/CONDITIONALITIES/RISKS/ASSUMPTIONS: (1) As the success of past GAC actions as well as its institutional credibility is closely linked to the tenure ship of the present Auditor General, funded by the EU and jointly recruited by the GoL and the EU, the sustainability of donor inputs as well as the GAC itself might be “challenged” with the end of his mandate i.e. April 2011.
- Consequently periodic reviews and critical assessment of the project status would be advised in order to decide on the continuation of EU supporting addition to having ascertained the status of the conditionalities before the project start up.
- (2) “Assessment: (GAC) is not free from Executive interference in several of the mentioned aspects and although the reports are remitted directly to the Legislature they are not acted upon. Corrective measures are beyond the immediate realm of jurisdiction of the GAC as well as the immediate substantive scope of an EU GAC support project. Possible support measures to help overcome and circumvent these major limiting factors are envisaged in section 7. (Issues 1, 2 & 7 of Part 7).
- “In the opinion of the present mission expert, the 25 financial/compliance and 12 forensic reports are all well presented by GAC with its’ findings and recommendations clear and unambiguous. These reports all contain sufficient information for the National Legislature and Executive to act upon and follow up. It is anticipated that the 32 or so audits in progress will meet the same quality standards.
- All these reports have been submitted to the NL but it is not known how many have actually been reviewed for ensuing action. Assessment: This area is also perceived as a major strength as the reports, in addition to being more timely, are well presented, clear, standardized as to format, define the audit scope, describe the internal control anomalies and propose recommendations to the overseers and other related organizations and ministries to implement corrective measures. (Issues 1 & 7 of Part 7).”
Basically, GAC will likely die when Morlu leaves in April 2011, so EU needs to take that into account for any future funding. So EU knew what was going to happen but was counting on the fact that the President might think about her legacy and continue the GAC, in a credible manner. Because of the high performance of GAC reported by the Independent Evaluator, EU agreed to provide additional 3.5 million Euros.
Sadly common sense will indicate this:
- EU does not conduct Peer Review. Instead EU conducts a Performance and Program Evaluation Report only as the basis for identifying accomplishments and further areas needing financial report.
- All EU Reviews are contracted directly by Brussels, not EU Monrovia so as to maintain independence of the review.
- EU reports are never addressed to an Auditor General. Instead they are sent to the hiring agency, EU Brussels. And it will have a proper EU logo (see attached report). The media and Liberians should demand to see a copy of the so-called EU report and look for the Logo.
- In 2010, All EU ambassadors visited GAC.
- They praised Morlu’s work. Also in 2010, EU listed GAC under Morlu as the Most Success EU Project. So how can someone at that the current GAC lied on EU. See link: http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/documents/case-studies/liberia_governance_public_finances_en.pdf
- Implementing partners, which are companies contracted by EU to carry out the work are not independent. Instead they are part of the institution. In the case of GAC, FineEurope and PKF Londonn are implementing agencies. Those implementing agencies are responsible to hire a team leader and a slew of professional such as Trainers. In the case of Liberia, FineEurope hired Ron (Team leader), Davis (Trainer) and Kelly (HR), Josephine and Chita (Quality) etc. These individuals do not work for EU, instead the work for FineEurope. And EU evaluation will be evaluating the performance of GAC including FineEurope and its staff.
- EU cannot train and educate staff for 5 years and then turned around and say, oops, they are all incompetent. How will EU reached such a decision? They gave a test to all staff as they did in 2006? No evidence that an institutional wide test was administered. So why will EU spent more than $8 million and then say after 5 years GAC staff not competent? And it is not John Morlu that recruiter the trainers (Davis and the woman from Zambia, cannot even remembered her name). EU recruited the long term trainers that were already at GAC in January 2007 and I arrived in May 2007. I left the trainers at GAC and their team leader Ron. So these FineEurope trainers were at GAC more than even John Morlu.
- And if the audit reports did not meet standards, then where is the Deputy for Audits, where are the 4 Principal Auditors hired by World Bank to oversee all the audits, where are the 2 auditors from UNMIL, where are the 3 auditors from the Senior Executive Services paid by UNDP, where was the 27 experienced auditors from Ghana, and where was the 9 experienced auditors from Zambia? So the Auditor General and Deputy Auditor General from Ghana who reviewed these audits are also dumb? How about the Auditor General of Zambia?
- USAID Inspector General is far advanced and more experienced that Kilby. He conducted a Peer Review and on the basis of his Peer Review, he granted GAC the provisional rights to audit US Government programs and finances, a distinct mark of excellence as it takes some Auditors General 20 years to get such provisional approval. GAC, under Morlu, accomplished it in less than 4 years.
Facts never tell a lie. I am a “honorary member” of the EU family. This much I know.
God bless of all of you on
Click link below for E U Design Study, using LIMA as the “Benchmark” to Evaluate Performance of GAC