Promote integrity within institutions and schools (LR0040)
Action Plan: Liberia Action Plan 2020-2022
Action Plan Cycle: 2020
Lead Institution: Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC)
Support Institution(s): Ministry of Education, , LIPA, PYPP, CENTAL, ALab-Liberia, CAPPDOG, PYPP, iLab Liberia, IREDD, NAYMOTE, PUL, OGP Secretariat, UNDP, OSIWA, USAID, EU
Policy AreasAnti Corruption and Integrity, Anti-Corruption Institutions, Capacity Building, Education, Judiciary, Justice, Legislation, Public Service Delivery, Whistleblower Protections
4.1 Support the passage of laws to bolster integrity and accountability of public servants; 4.2 Support the development of an anti-corruption court; 4.3 Develop a National Integrity Committee; and 4.4 Integrate integrity and accountability education into the public school system. The commitment creates a legal framework in order to establish guidelines for public officials. It increases training opportunities and creates a network of honest government officials to build the values of accountability and integrity within institutions and schools. This commitment seeks to strengthen institutional values and promote the culture of accountability as a hallmark for service delivery. It also encourages integrity as the foundation for deepening societal value-systems. The following milestones will be reached to fulfill the commitments: 1. Ensure the passage of the Whistleblower and Witness Protection Acts; 2. Establishment of a fast-track/specialized anti-corruption court; 3. Introduction of integrity and accountability education in all public schools. 4. Monitor institutions with high-risk for corruption Milestone Activity With a Verifiable Deliverable Deadline: Responsible agency 1. The Passage of Whistleblower and Witness Protection Bills into law Begins January 2021 and ongoing until December 2022 Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) 2. Establish a fast-track/specialized anti-corruption court Begins January 2021 and ongoing until December 2022 LACC ,Judiciary & Legislature 3. Integration of integrity, transparency and accountability education into the Liberian public school curriculum Begins January 2021 and ongoing until December 2022 LACC & Ministry of Education 4. Establishment of a National Integrity Committee to monitor high-risk institutions and help inform decision making Begins January 2021 and ongoing until December 2022 LACC
IRM Midterm Status Summary
Action Plan Review
Commitment 4: Supporting Institutions of Integrity
● Verifiable: Yes
● Does it have an open government lens? Yes
● Potential for results: Substantial
Commitment 4: Supporting Institutions of Integrity (Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission)
For a complete description see commitment 4 in https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/liberia-action-plan-2020-2022/
Context and objectives
Liberia’s last two action plans have sought to pass the Whistleblower and Witness Protection Bill unsuccessfully.  Unlike previous iterations of this commitment, this version aims to establish an anticorruption court and a National Integrity Committee. It also shifts its focus from educating incoming government civil servants to educating public school students. The Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia and the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission proposed these new elements. 
High levels of corruption disrupt government services and democratic processes in Liberia.  The 2020 Corruption Perceptions Index ranked Liberia 127 out of 180 countries. Since 2013, Liberia has worsened 10 points on the index, currently ranking at a low score of 28 points out of 100.  This commitment proposes a suite of activities that aim to address government corruption, although the link between each activity and the commitment’s aim is not made explicit. The commitment’s actions include passing the Whistleblower and Witness Protect Bill, which has stalled in government over the last decade largely due to a lack of political will in the legislature.  Additionally, the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission seeks to establish a special corruption court. This court would have jurisdiction over all corruption-related cases and would prosecute cases when the Ministry of Justice does not act. 
This commitment proposes incorporation of integrity, transparency, and accountability education in the Liberian public school curriculum. It particularly targets the middle group of learners—those in junior and senior high school—and would gradually advance to university education. The intent is to provide education to the younger generation so that everybody understands the dangers of corruption and begins to reject it in every fabric of society.
The proposed National Integrity Committee mentioned in milestone 4 would be composed of members from both the government and civil society organizations. The committee would monitor high-risk institutions. While there are plans to make findings of this committee public, the commitment text does not specifically relay how the committee and its findings would help inform decision making. The IRM did not find further evidence of the mandate and function of the committee.
Potential for results: Substantial
Whistleblower protections in Liberia have existed since 2009 through a string of executive orders.  Those executive orders ban retaliation against public or private employees who expose improper actions that harm the public.  However, whistleblower harassment continues to occur, often with impunity.  Therefore, the long-sought passage of the Whistleblower and Witness Protection Bill (WWPB) would be a substantial open government achievement. A special anticorruption court would adjudicate corruption-related cases. In particular, the court would fast-track and address prosecution delays previously experienced due to heavy workload of judiciary staff. Importantly, the National Integrity Committee would ensure that civil society organizations (CSOs) are centrally involved in anticorruption efforts. Finally, yet importantly, the incorporation of integrity, transparency, and accountability education in Liberia’s public school curriculum would gradually shift the population’s knowledge and mindset to promote a collective stand against all forms of corruption in the long run.
Prior to this action plan, the WWPB had been submitted to the national legislature but was yet to be acted upon. The draft is not publicly available, and the contents are unknown. However, Ralph G. Jimmeh Jr. of the OGP Liberia Secretariat stated the bill follows basic Transparency International principles.  Previous IRM reports indicated that the lack of political will in the legislature to move forward with the act remains the main hindrance.  In this action plan, the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission, OGP Secretariat, and others intend to rally CSOs to advocate for the passage of the bill.
Opportunities, challenges and recommendations during implementation
Two key challenges stand to limit implementation. First, the establishment of a special court
requires support and coordination across government, in addition to sufficient resources.
Second, there is a lack of political will to pass and enact the Whistleblower and Witness Protection Bill (WWBP). With this in mind, the IRM recommends the following:
- The executive branch should grant the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) sufficient resources,  leadership stability,  and political independence to carry out its mandate and oversee implementation of this commitment.
Passing the Whistleblower and Witness Protection Bill
- LACC should partner with civil society—and maximize President George Weah’s support—to build legislative support for the WWPB. 
- The legislature or LACC should consult civil society and the public on the content of the WWPB.
Establishing an Anticorruption Court
- LACC should establish a multistakeholder task force to promote the cross-government coordination needed to establish the court.
Establishing a National Integrity Committee
- LACC should oversee a fair and transparent selection process for committee members.
- LACC should publish the mandate, function, meeting minutes, findings, and composition of the committee.
Note on commitment design: This commitment continues Liberia’s pattern of aiming for ambitious open government reforms. However, previous action plan cycles indicate that implementation is a continuous challenge.  The IRM recommends that Liberia further break down future commitments to ensure feasibility. For example, establishing a special anticorruption court could stand alone as a commitment. This commitment could be designed to ensure the close collaboration among the LACC, civil society, the judiciary, and the legislature required for major reform. Milestones under this commitment could then lay out the practical necessary steps, such as consulting with civil society on the court’s makeup and procedures, ensuring transparent court processes and data collection, building support within government, and increasing public awareness. 
IRM End of Term Status Summary
Commitment 4. SUPPORTING INSTITUTIONS OF INTEGRITY
● Verifiable: Yes
● Does it have an open government lens? Yes
● Potential for results: Substantial
● Completion: Limited
● Did it open government? Marginal
The aims of this commitment were to support the passage of laws to bolster integrity and accountability of public servants, support the development of an anti-corruption court, develop a national integrity committee, and integrate integrity and accountability education into the public school system.
This commitment has a limited level of completion in consideration of progress across the four milestones. Interviews with key Liberia civil society organization (CSO) contacts  and the Open Government Partnership (OGP) point of contact  indicate that the Liberian Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) has been going through leadership challenges with the passing of amendments on the Liberian Anti-Corruption Commission Act. CSOs have reacted to these amendments and released a joint statement.  These key informants reported that this was an obstacle to progress on this commitment.
The Whistleblower and Witness Protection Bill is available online  but has not been passed into law. A fast-track specialized anti-corruption court was not established by the time of the assessment.  LACC has not established a National Integrity Committee to monitor high-risk institutions.  However, LACC, in partnership with several CSOs and government institutions, are members of the National Integrity Forum, which meets regularly and speaks out on transparency, accountability, and integrity.
There is some evidence of implementation of the milestone to integrate integrity, transparency and accountability education into the Liberian public school curriculum. The draft Liberia NAP Self-Assessment Report indicates that while there were conversations around this, there were no revisions by the time of the assessment.  However, LACC, Accountability Lab, and the Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL) have been part of supporting integrity clubs in schools. Under the 3.5-year National Integrity Building and Anti-Corruption Programme, CENTAL, with support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, has set up integrity clubs  in the University of Liberia, United Methodist University, Africa Methodist Episcopal University, and Stella Maris Polytechnic University. In these universities, about 135 students are members. They have been trained on integrity and worked as data entry clerks.  They reached out to 19 public and private high schools, interacting with 1,850 students, including people with disabilities, in Monrovia and its environs.  This has contributed to raising awareness on transparency, accountability, and integrity. The IRM researcher did not receive a response from the commitment implementers despite several attempts.