US Congressional Delegation Arrives In Liberia

A high powered 9-member United States Congressional Delegation arrived in Monrovia Sunday, August 16, 2009 for a two-day official visit.  The delegation, headed by Congressman G. K Butterfield of the State of North Carolina, is expected to hold discussions with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Monday, August 17, 2009 at the Foreign Ministry in Monrovia.

The discussions between Congressman Butterfield and Her Excellency President Johnson Sirleaf will be followed by a press stakeout at the Foreign Ministry.

The Congressional delegation Sunday, August 16, 2009 toured the Freeport of Monrovia upon arrival followed by a dinner later during the evening, hosted by Vice President Honourable Joseph Boakai.

The US Congressional delegation’s visit comes barely three days following the visit to Liberia by the American Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, during which she renewed United States commitment to the development of Liberia.  

Mrs. Clinton praised the progress taking place in Liberia and pledged the US government’s support for President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and her Government in its development drive.

On corruption, the U.S. Secretary of State noted that President Johnson Sirleaf’s government is making significant progress in the fight against corruption.

Addressing the national legislature during her visit Secretary Clinton welcomed efforts being made by the Sirleaf administration to tackle corruption. The government, Mrs. Clinton said, is taking action to increase transparency with a strong Anti-Corruption Commission at the center of efforts to rebuild from years of civil war.

"Today, Liberia is a model of successful transition from conflict to post-conflict, from lawlessness to democracy, from despair to hope," said Mrs. Clinton. "In the last three years, the people of this country have been working to promote reform, reconstruction, and reconciliation. Liberia has adopted sound fiscal policies and seen strong economic growth."

Buttressing Secretary of State Clinton’s support for measures being taken by the Liberian Government to fight corruption, the Liberian President spoke of strengthening the country’s General Auditing Commission and complying with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, as another action aimed at transparency and accountability.

"I am pleased that corruption, long entrenched, long covered, is now being exposed," the President noted. "We have to expose it so that we can deal with it."

With those legal and regulatory frameworks in place, the Liberian leader said the challenge now is making sure that they continue to be implemented properly. The President said a new team at the Justice Ministry is committed to punishing those responsible for corruption both inside and outside of government.

"We have also reduced people's vulnerabilities by increasing civil service pay, by settling arrears, all of which have contributed to corruption," she said. "We now need for the public and the media to recognize the progress and to join us in this fight which is not limited to government but has taken root in all of the society."