I have been observing unfolding developments in national politics over the last few weeks and taken keen interest in the most outstanding debate of recent time, the issue surrounding former Auditor General John S. Morlu, II speech at the inauguration of the United States branch of the main opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC). It seems all afraid of Morlu.
Morlu’s statement was very succinct, factual, backed by law, and touched on the cardinal issues affecting Liberia at the movement blaming not only the Unity Party led Government but also the opposition political parties. His speech has sparked wide public outcry and was subsequently followed by a purported email exchanged between him (Morlu) and George Weah in which it is claimed that Morlu expressed fear about his citizenship ahead of the 2017 general and presidential elections.
As a Liberian I am very happy to hear roumour that Morlu is eying an elective political position in Liberia come 2017. He a leading competent, very experienced, highly educated at America’s best universities, and undeniably credentialed. I believe Morlu is one of the best choices Liberia can offer for the Executive Mansion in 2017 as the country is suffering the brain drain in terms, and also a leader with integrity. professionalism, international experience, education, international connection and a leader willing to fight corruption, and put the country back on the path to posterity to make us reach the promised land we have yarned for during the last 165 years.
For all Morlu critics, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, even though disagreed with Morlu’s “mode of operations, could not dispute Morlu’s stellar performance as Auditor General. During her January 2011 State of the Nation Address, President Sirleaf wrote, GAC under Morlu capable hands “has remained unwavering and committed to its mandate.” If this is not the most glaring endorsement of a man’s professional work, then I do not what else could be said.
It seems abundantly clear that the Unity Party and “Presidential Wannabes” believe Morlu is the danger to their corruption and political careers. They have concluded the following:
· Five Years, they could not discredit Morlu and his work. They can call him a door breaker and it did not stick. They called him sexual harasser in the a country of more beautiful women and man like morlu making US$15,000 per month. This too did not stick. The founded bogus groups to fight morlu and nothing stuck on Morlu. He walked away a clean man, with a high profile honoring ceremony by the US Embassy in Monrovia.
· Two Years now, they have schemed to see how they can defeat Morlu. It was said in Unity Party meetings that by getting rid of morlu, he will stay in Liberia and beg for job which will diminish him or he will leave and go back to America, which means “out of sight, out of mind.” After nearly two years, Morlu is now a businessman engaged in private enterprising in America and elsewhere while these officials wallow in corruption in Monrovia. Morlu speech at CDC has taken them by utter surprised as throughout Liberian people are still praising Morlu. So they have concluded that Morlu, like Bill Clinton is the “Come Back” with enormous staying power in the minds of Liberians.
· In the past 3 weeks, they have concluded since we cannot discredit him or beat him, we need to disqualify morlu by attacking him that he is an “American Citizen.” Well, by accusing Morlu of being American, they are selling him to Liberians who like Americans. Liberians have concluded Morlu is sent by America to save Liberia, as so many people are calling saying “we hear the Americans are sending one of their own and his name is Morlu.” Well, the Americans like to back their own. History show that all candidates accused of being American citizens has won, including the President of Haiti and Brazil. By their accusation, they are solidifying America’s support for Morlu.
And a ruling party or any party trying to disqualify an individual for being American and European citizens is a strong signal that such person is likely to win the next election. George Mannah Weah was accused of being French Citizen and he won but another accused American citizen Ellen Johnson Sirleaf won. It was a battle between “French Man” Weah and “American Woman” Sirleaf and the Americans took the prize.
Integrity and professionalism
I have no doubt that every Liberian will agree with me that Morlu is probably one of the Liberians I have seen in our country yesteryears history with impeccable integrity. Morlu is on record for disagreeing with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on the way forward in fighting corruption as he did not want a lip service in fighting corruption; he took a robust posture which landed him at variance with President Sirleaf.
President Sirleaf frankly stated she did not like “his mode of operations” which grew out of his publicizing of audit reports as a means of naming and shaming public officials involved in corruption. Naming and shaming corruption a time tested means to fight fraud according to International Fraud Magazine 2011 Report to the Nation.
Simply tell me who Liberian can prefer to walk away from US$15,000 job just for disagreeing with the President by not accepting to work the way she wants? This is an open challenge to anyone to give me an instance in which a Liberian official in the over 160 years of our national existence that will give out such job because they want to maintain integrity and professionalism. Today and even yesterday our public officials worship the President like a demigod only to maintain their jobs as they don’t even disagree with anything the president says. Even those officials that have been dismissed are still in Monrovia, waiting for a second chance from President Sirleaf as for Liberian Government officials, Government is the only way for them to make a living.
As President Sirleaf admitted in her October 2011 interview with FPA, Morlu turned down offered to him to become Minister of Finance. It begs the question why would President Sirleaf offered such a high profile post to a man Unity Party is claiming is a known “American Citizen.” Here is what former Ambassador Linda Greenfield said about Morlu’s character and integrity as referenced in the so-called Wikileaks: “(Morlu) is a tireless institution-builder, an admired manager who motivates staff and leads by example, and a person of undisputed integrity.”
In the modern world, “integrity” is worth millions and “undisputed integrity” is worth trillions of dollars. As Billionaire Warren Buffet says, “ all a person needs is integrity” and the rest shall follow. Rest assured, “integrity is king.” And for the American Ambassador to say Morlu is a person of “undisputed integrity” is all that anyone can ask for.
From my research, Morlu is the only Liberian to date to have worked for two of the top five consulting and technology firms in the world. Getting job in companies such as UNISYS, BearingPoint (formerly KPMG, a big 4 consulting firm) is not an easy task as people who work with these entities are amongst the smartest people in the United States and those recruited from other parts of the world. Based on his experience Morlu was successful among more than 165 experienced auditors who applied to the European Union to occupy the Auditor General position of Liberia to build an institution that was not known to Liberians at all. Morlu beat off competition from Zambians, Ghanaians and people from EU countries to the AG post.
Morlu did not disappoint when he got the job as within the first one year the General Auditing Commission of Liberia became the highest performing Liberian institution and was recognized both locally and on the international scene. Global Witness, Transparency International, International crisis Group all acknowledged the work of Morlu and the GAC as Liberia ranking in fighting corruption improved greatly.
Global Witness told the President that it was highly disappointed in her not re-appointing morlu, because “Auditor General John Morlu built the GAC to international standards and produced quality audits.” International Crisis Group reported in August 2011 that “Morlu is widely credited by Liberians and international diplomats for transforming the financial management sector of Liberia.”
EU Commissioner for Africa, Commissioner Louis Mictchell wrote President Sirleaf in April 2009 and said the European Union was “highly pleased with the performance of Auditor General John Morlu.” EU Ambassador Pacifici told FrontpageAfrica in February 2012 that “morlu performed exceptionally well, “adding “Morlu did his job and his contact finished.” In November 2010, EU countries including France, Sweden diplomats in Liberia visited Morlu at the GAC and expressed confidence in his work.
The United States of America through USAID conducted a peer review of the GAC and qualified the GAC to audit USAID’s project based on the level of professionalism and quality of GAC audit reports.
In order to put icing on the cake and rebuff Ellen Johnson Sirleaf attacked on Morlu’s mode of operations, the American Government through the American Embassy near Monrovia honored Morlu on April 26, 2011 for a job well done. It was widely reported in the News Newspaper that President Sirleaf was stunningly mad for the American to honor an outgoing government official, Morlu being the only Government official to be duly honored by the US Government.
Morlu was a single candidate nominated by the USA to serve as Auditor General of the United Nations. As we have learned, Morlu did not make a single application at the UN. Instead he was nominated by the world super power America but the final decision had to be made by the Secretary General of the UN.
Out of total candidates of 137 for the second top UN post, the number was narrowed down to 10 in which Morlu was included. The committee scrutinizing the candidates again and reduced the number to the top three (3) with Morlu, a Canadian and a South African as the top three candidates for the prestigious post.
Morlu was ranked second and his name submitted by the committee to Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. The Canadian was offered the post based on her long years experienced as she served as Auditor general for many international organizations prior to the UN post. She was former Auditor General of the World Bank, with more than 40 years experience. Although Morlu had more professional credentials and education, the Canadian had more experience. But to come second in a field of 137 of highly qualified international candidates is a big deal for a young Liberian from Bolahun, Lofa County.
Morlu reasoned that since he did not get the second highest post at the UN, he would return to Unisys and then later start his own CPA firm and in 5 years he will be more than ready to compete for the same UN post again, with America’s backing.
This was at the age of 37; no Liberian has ever gone through such rigorous international vetting process along with such huge number of candidates and made it in the top two. But as even President Sirleaf admitted in her interview with FPA in October 2011, Secretary General Moon offered Morlu the third post and Morlu turned down the Chief Investigator post of the UN. All well meaning Liberians will be happy to know that a young Liberian at the age of 37 was nominated by US Government and came in second from 137 international pool of applicants.
President Sirleaf also admitted in that interview that she offered Morlu the minister of Finance post, an offer that Minister Konneh has used as his justification to take over the job from Augustine Ngafuan, who is now Foreign Minister. According to Konneh the president had already offered Morlu the job so he Konneh did not undermine Ngafuan. Who in Liberia can reject the offer of serving as Finance Minister? Morlu did.
Ambassador Linda Greenfield conclusion on Morlu UN Post recommendation as the conclusion is what matters. Ambassador Greenfield said, “We question whether he possesses sufficient managerial experience to lead a large, complex and already-developed institution. That said, Morlu has surprised his detractors and continues to demonstrate adaptability and the self-awareness to learn from his mistakes. (Morlu) could deploy his considerable intellectual and managerial resources to good effect, and might become a refreshing, if idiosyncratic, debunker of UN orthodoxy.”
Liberia is not already developed. Morlu has built his reputation building institution so it was fair to say he might not fit into an big established bureaucracy like UN. Morlu has an entrepreneur spirit, which is the point the Ambassador was making and UN is not for people who are innovative and creative. It is Liberia that needs creative and innovative minds, as it is coming out of war and needs a lot of reform.
In spite of the so many factual errors noted in the wikileaks on Morlu and others like Verdier, Woods etc, Ambassador Greenfield final opinion is all that really matters. Read it again as bolded black above.
It is also important to say that in an interview with FPA in February 2012, Ambassador Greenfield said that “America does not comment on wikileaks, because some of the information in wikileaks could have been altered to suit a particular purpose.” This means for those using wikileaks to attack people like morlu, be careful that while it can serve some political taste it does not hold legally or professionally. I quote only from wikileaks because morlu attackers are using same wikileaks.
Liberia Needs Business Minded People as President
We should be proud that a Liberian as young as Morlu was even nominated by the greatest country on earth, America. How many Liberians can turn down a Chief Investigator post? Morlu said he wanted to return to Unisys and meet his commitment since he took a leave of absence and then later start his own CPA firm. Morlu believes in the sanctity of agreements.
Today, only Morlu and Weah are private sector people. All others trying to contest the presidency continued to draw their paycheck from the Liberian Government. Morlu and Weah are taking risk and creating businesses in the private sector, trying out the free enterprising system by leveraging time and capital. Again, none of those mentioned as Unity Party potential candidates except for Varney Sherman are all working for Government. None of them have private sector experience, much less trying to build a business in the private sector.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said Sierra Leone is doing better than Liberia. This is true. The reason is that Sierra Leone President, Karoma came from the private sector and his ministers are all people who have served as entrepreneurial in the private sector. In Ghana, nearly all those running for President and political office are business people.
In Liberia, all those trying to run on UP ticket are government ministers with zero and minimal private sector experience. George Weah has businesses in America, Ghana and Liberia, etc. John Morlu has a CPA and Management Consulting firm in Virginia and DC and expanding into Haiti, Ghana and eventually to Liberia when the political economy improves. Liberians are tired of Government “fat cats,” who see government as the only way to steal to get richer on taxpayers back. Liberia needs a businessman to be President.
Morlu is the only Liberian to have acquired degrees from three different prestigious American universities, all three universities listed among top universities in the United States. This Liberian was opportune to get MBA in Finance, Carey School of Business, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA; MA, International Transactions, School of Public Policy, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, USA and BA, Double Major, Economics and Foreign Affairs, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA. These are all top 20 colleges in America and well reputable.
He is the only Liberian with nine Professional License and Certifications including Certified Public Accountant (CPA), District of Columbia, Board of Accountancy, Virginia, and Maryland, USA; Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), The Institute of International Auditors, USA Certified Government Auditing Professional (CGAP), Institute of Internal Auditors, USA; Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, USA; Certified Management Accountant (CMA), Institute of Management Accountants, USA; Certified Financial Manager (CFM), Institute of Management Accountants, USA; Certified Masters in Business Administration (CMBA), International Certificate Institute, USA; Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA), American Institute of Certified Public Accountants , USA; Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP), America Institute of Certified Public Accountants, USA; Certificate, Professional Ethics, America Institute of Certified Public Accountants, USA.
No Liberian can boast of such qualification as this is an open challenge to anyone to challenge this assertion.
Faulty excuse of Citizenship
Now from what I am gathering all the political talks with 5 years away from the main plebiscite is about Morlu’s citizenship with many saying he is an American citizen. I know his opponents believe that they cannot match this young man in a competitive political process holding everything constant so they are diverting attention to a non issue. They want to disqualify before the game starts in 2017.
Many claims Morlu is an American citizen because the US nominated him for the top UN posts. Here are the facts that people do not know. America does not nominate on the basis of citizenship because it was America that nominated Kofi Annan, a Ghanaian to serve as Secretary General. Does this make Kofi Annan an American citizen?
I think if Morlu was to run today, he will win the first round. All Diaspora Liberians want support him as so many of them have US Citizenships and as we read on FPA, they want dual citizenship. My research shows the below as Liberians with American citizenship working in Government and holding Liberian passport and US Passport:
1. Mary Broh
2. Robert Sirleaf
3. Amara Konneh
4. Biyan Kessely
5. Martu Tubman
6. Richard Tolbert
7. Winsley Nanka
8. Federick Norkeh
9. Jeneh Bernard
10. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
11. Jeremiah Suluteh (Canadian)
12. Francis Carbah (Canadian)
13. Alobenke Akere
14. Estrada Bernard
15. Carnie Johnson
16. Stephen Yekeson
17. Patrick Sandolo
18. Sam Russ (he confessed it and was still confirmed by the sanate as deputy minister)
19 Dr. Chris Toe
20. Lusinee Donzo (he confessed and was still confirmed by the senate as minister)
21. GSA Director Perin
22. Amonia Tarpeh
23. Miatta Beslow
24. Florence Chenowah
25. Miltda Wookie Parker
26. Julia Dunkin Cassell
My advise to Liberians let’s allow the fair political game as citizenship cannot be an issue to deprive Liberians from having a leader that can lead our country to the promise land. But again, the burden of proof is on the accuser. US Government has disowned all information in wikileaks. But if I were a betting man, the attempt to disqualify morlu at this early stage means he is believe to be favored to win any contest in 2017, assuming he even wants to run.
By Adolphus D. Nimely, Department of Political Science, University of Liberia