Friday, December 28, 2007

Blogger Buzz: Blogger and Picasa Web Albums

Blogger Buzz: Blogger and Picasa Web Albums

GAC Begins Forensic Audit

General Auditing Commission Begins Forensic Probe
...Invokes Executive Law Chapter 3
The Office of the Auditor General has commenced Special Forensic Audits of various institutions and programs.
According to a statement from the office of the Auditor General, in keeping with its constitutional and statutory responsibility, as stipulated in Chapter 53 of the Executive Law of 1972, it wishes to inform the public that the General Auditing Commission (GAC) has commenced Special Forensic Audits of various institutions and programs.
The statement noted that those institutions and programs include the Intellectual Property Systems, fees collected by the National Elections Commission (NEC) from political parties and aspirants in General and Presidential elections held in 2005.
The statement also named the County Development Fund (Fiscal Year 2006/2007), US$4 million to the NTGL by the Government of South Africa and transactions relating to the Bureau of Maritime holdings in Immersat from August 9, 2003 to December 2007.
The statement stated further that the Special Forensic Audits in addition to the audits of the Fiscal Outturn of the Republic of Liberia, the Ministry of Finance, and National Social Security and Welfare Corporation, will audit all transactions for two fiscal periods which are 2005/2006 and 2006/2007.
The Office of the Auditor General has assured all those concerned that the Special Forensic Audits will be conducted in accordance with the INTOSAI Code of Ethics and Auditing Standards (the Brown Book).
Furthermore, the Office of the Auditor General has asked everyone concerned to act accordingly in these audits as stated in Chapter 53, Section 53.4 of the Executive Law of 1972.
Section 53.4 reads, “The Auditor-General or his designee is entitled to free access at all times to all files, documents, and other records relating to the accounts of every Government agency and Government organization.
It further states that he is also entitled to require and receive from officials and employees such information as he may deem necessary for the proper performance of his duties.
The statement noted that the Auditor-General may station in any government agency or Government organization, any person employed by the General Auditing office to exercise more effectively, the audit functions set forth.
“This is the organic law of the Republic of Liberia. Section 53.4, which empowers the Auditor General and his designated auditors to require from government officials and employees files, documents and other records relating to accounts of every Government Agency or Government Organization,” the statement said.
“This is again the law, and also international standards and best practices. This is also consistent with the INTOSAI Code of Ethics and Auditing and nearly all professional practice standards, particularly as it relates to Government audit for institutions,’’ the statement said.
The Office of the Auditor General (OAG) said it is critically aware of the President’s push to ensure zero tolerance on corruption. Auditing government institutions and programs to ensure accountability, transparency and fiscal probity is a time-tested method to end corruption and impunity.
“The Office of the Auditor General remains sensitive to the President’s stated objective of leaving behind a legacy of being the “Accountability President in Africa;” this is a legacy that the GAC is fighting to also ensure that it becomes a reality because it is good for Liberians,” the statement stressed.
The statement further stated that the office of the Auditor General would like to thank the President for her continued support to GAC and these audits, which are indeed in some instances the first time in the history of the Republic.
The Auditor General encourages all for their full cooperation from the named programs and institutions, as the forensic auditors perform their constitutional and statutory responsibilities. Courtesy of The INQUIRER NEWSPAPER in Liberia

Monday, December 24, 2007

Presidential Advisor generates Religious Storm
…Says “I’m Not Religious, But Spiritual”
“I am not a religious person. I am spiritual.” These were the words of Mother Esther Nyemah, Liberia’s Presidential Advisor for religious affairs. Mother Nyemah made the statement when she insisted she would not give any comments on an interview she granted the Star Radio in Monrovia.
On Star Radio interview in which she attacked Islam as intolerant, she vowed to boycott state events where Islamic prayers are offered. This interview generated a lot of controversy in Liberia, a circular state which gives no religion edge over another.
Her remarks last week, that she had advised the President not to have Muslim prayers at official functions, and that she would boycott them, created a religious firestorm with Muslims accusing her of trying to subordinate Islam.
The National Muslim Council of Liberia described Mother Nyameh’s statement as unfortunate and unrealistic.
She said Islam was an intolerant religion, and that in countries where it is dominant, Christians are not allowed to worship. She said that calls for religious tolerance were “diluting” the Gospel.
The Advisor first denied making the statements, but the tapes were played on radio verifying her position.
The Advisor’s stance infuriated Muslim clerics, amongst them the chairman of the National Muslim Council, the Sheik Kafumba Konneh, who said: “The statement has the propensity to create chaos in a country…”
He said the Muslim Council would write the President to seek audience to discuss the matter. The Muslim Students Association of Liberia went further, calling for her immediate dismissal as Religious Advisor because “...her statement was anti-peace.”
Recently, Information Minister Dr. Rev. Lawrence Bropleh came under similar attack for worshipping in a Moslem mosque. There are those who argued that Moslem countries like Guinea, Saudi Arabia etc, would never condone a Christian prayer at official functions. Those saying so are apparently alluding to the preamble of the Liberian Constitution which says the state was founded on Christian Principles. But the same Constitution says the nation state, Liberia, is a secular state and therefore it provides for religious freedom.
Article 14 states: All persons shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion and no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment thereof except as may be required by law to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.
All persons who, in the practice of their religion, conduct themselves peaceably, not obstructing others and conforming to the standards set out herein, shall be entitled to the protection of the law.
No religious denomination or sect shall have any exclusive privilege or preference over any other, but all shall be treated alike; and no religious tests shall be required for any civil or military office or for the exercise of any civil right. Consistent with the principle of separation of religion and state, the Republic shall establish no state religion
On the other hand, the argument as to whether Liberia was founded on secular, Christian, and Islamic or Buddhist principles will continue.
But whatever the merit of the argument on both sides, the constitution is crystal clear on the intents of the forefathers when they lay down the written foundation of the nation.
For sure as was expected after the inter view, several Islamic prelates and followers took exception. This gave media men ground to follow up the statement for more clarity, but Madame Nyemah said: “...I will not talk. I only want to apologize to the Liberian people and that’s where I stand.”
She continued, “I think you people need to ask your Minister (Information Minister Lawrence Bropleh). Me, I want to apologize to the Liberian people. I don’t know want you people to hear from me. I’m finished talking. If you want to hear anything else, go to the radio people. It is a disappointment that the Liberian people are not matured spiritually. I’m not a religious person.”
Still in her morning pajamas when some local journalists visited her Stephen Tolbert Estate residence, the Church spiritual mother, a television preacher, noted, “I am a spiritual person. I’ m a born again. That’s why I made it clear. Nicodemus was religious, the person who killed Jesus was a religious person. We pray for the people. So when Jesus said I’m not religious but I’m the Son of God, they got vex.
Mother Nyemah several times related her experience as a pageant. She was a hooker, all about Monrovia during the night hours during her youthful life. “Esther is one of the old timer. She is one of the normal day joe who men could hardly escape,” a lady who said she too was a hooker related an account of the past of the Spiritual advisor of the President of Liberia.
But Mother Esther Nyemah was eventually called to the gospel of God and she built a Cathedral which she is pastoring. In fact there is no gainsaying that Mother Nyemah is one of the wealthier in the Christendom in Monrovia. Soccer icon like George Weah had immensely contributed to the building of her Cathedral which has hundreds of membership –huge membership by standard of the Liberian population.
According to Mother Nyemah, “I’m a spiritual person actually and I’m not religious. I’m a born again Christian. And I’m not saying anything else more than what I said. Your go to the radio people and take it (tapes) from them. I like your paper, I always read Democrat, It is in my room, but the only thing your too political, your got to balance it sometime…”
Mother Nyemah did not stop there: “. I say I finished with that thing long time. I am not a pressman.” Feeling uncomfortable with traces journalists are making of her, the mother exclaimed: “The man, who likes press business is the Information Minister; your go there. What he said, if it is correct to your, than your go there.”
She told pressmen that she wants to see Information Minister Bropleh’s side published first, “than you can come to me I can talk. I do not have anything to say, everybody want to hear my side, my side why you’ll (you people) can hear the minister’s side?
The mother noted, “I already apologize to the Liberians and they are telling me thank you for it. And that’s it, it’s enough. Whatever I said and was on that tape, I apologize. I apologize and I say sorry, and it’s right there.”