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Liberia: Inside the Excesses, Corruption, Waste, and Abuse at General Auditing Commission Under Dismissed Auditor General Kilby

Robert Kirby

The West African nation of Liberia’s Auditing Commission over the past few years got international attention when that autonomous government agency led the country’s fight against corruption, waste, and abuse in an effort to protect the country’s financial resources from being plundered by unscrupulous public officials. The agency’s fight against corruption, waste, and abuse earned the country the cancellation of its international debt obligation.

Ironically the Audit General who led that fight, John Morlu was relieved of his position in 2011 when his four year tenure came to end when the Liberian leader, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf though she said in a congratulatory letter to Mr. Morlu “she was proud of the professionalism and hard work he did at the Auditing Commission and hope his work can be use as the road map for all government functionaries and wish his successor could build on his work”.

In a twist to the professionalism and success the General Auditing Commission accrued under the leadership of a highly competent Auditor General and the President’s desire that his successor built on the good work and professionalism he brought at the commission, President Sirleaf nominated a controversial and what many Liberians considered an incompetent Auditor General, Robert Kilby with no knowledge of Finance or accounting who told the Liberian Senate that the country’s Civil Service Agency massaged his resume to suit his qualification for the job. Mr. Kilby was however confirmed by the Senate after long delay through one quickest confirmation in the country history lasting about fourteen minutes.

Upon Mr. Kilby taking over the management of the commission, he immediately became a lightening rod when he dismissed over forty employees, a move which created political upheaval with several protests staged to renounce his action but the new Auditor General argued that budgetary constraints tired the commission’s hands to maintain the dismissed workers. Contrary to Mr. Kilby’s assertion of budgetary constraints which the commission to coerced him to lay off some workers, he immediately hired 124 new workers within a split of interval of the dismissal of the over forty workers and created more administrative positions and at the same time increased salaries by 400%.

The Liberian government’s argument for hiring Mr. Kilby ad-mist public outcry concerning his qualification was the new Auditor General was willing to be paid US$15,000.00, a US$7,000.00 cut from his predecessor’s salary of US$15,000.00 which paid by the European Union under whose contract with the Liberian government he was hired to lead the Liberian government’s fight to combat corruption. Before Mr. Kilby came to the Commission, the highest paid employee by the Liberian government was the Deputy Auditor General who was paid US$4,50.00 but immediately bumped to up to US$9,000.00 in salary US$8,000.00  in allowance, totaling US$17,000.00 monthly. Mr Kilby also 36 managers from a the three he met there and created 13 directors from the previous one director before his arrival and increasing their pay by over 400%.

Former Auditor General employed 10 janitors for the Commission. The former Auditor General dismissed the long head of Human Resource of the Commission without benefit for long service to the Commission and country bringing in the  husband of a Liberian Senator, Clarice Jah who was believed to be one of many lawmakers who rushed and squeezed in his confirmation at the objection of many Liberians who viewed  him as a fraudster for lying on his resume. The budget of the Auditing Commission under Mr. Kilby grew from US$4 million to US$10 million and did not produced one audit report after exerting US$7 million.

The former Auditor General, Mr. Kilby witout any power and authority by law, auctioned out vehicles belonging to the Commission including the vehicle used by his predecessor valued at about US$40,000.00 to friends and employees, an action which is a crime by audit standard known as “striping”.






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