During his heydays at Liberia’s General Auditing Commission (GAC) speculations consistently abounded that former Auditor General, Mr. John Morlu, harbored presidential ambition for which most of his audits were branded as “political tools”. The former GAC boss has now confessed this long standing ambition but indicated that he is being asked by Liberians and foreign partners to contest the Liberian presidency.
Speaking in an interview with a US-based news outlet recently, Mr. Morlu affirmed that he has a 90 percent chance of running for the nation’s highest seat in the 2017 Presidential and Legislative elections. He indicated that the need to run is based on the fact that Liberia will face serious financial challenges when the tenure of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf expires. Therefore, he bragged that the West African nation will need an individual of his pedigree to lead the country, especially given his stance on corruption as well as his international experience. “Liberia will need a lot of money to survive and the international community will need someone who they can entrust with their monies. If that is not done, he said the country’s international partners will adopt a “wait-and-see” approach in dealing with whoever is elected. Mr. Morlu stated that he is the person best suited with all that it takes to gain the trust of the international community in handling the affairs of the state. “I bring credibility and trust to the table. I am a straight forward person with zero tolerance on corruption,” he said. He however recognized that the success of the next government will depend on the caliber of individuals elected. “I will encourage Liberians to vote for a team that can move the country forward instead of opting for an individual,” he added. The former anti-graft chief furthered that his first priority if elected will be to continue the fight against corruption, because according to him, this menace can retard development and growth. Mr. Morlu emphasized that no good ideas will work in the face of widespread corruption. “Corruption undermines everything,” he intimated. He acknowledged that no government ever had a better plan in place than the government led by President Johnson-Sirleaf. According to the former GAC boss, corruption has long been Liberia’s problem dating as far back as Joseph J. Roberts’administration. Under his leader as President of Liberia, Morlu says efforts will be exerted in ensuring that those convicted of corruption in government will be punished and their assets frozen. “If I were president today, the first thing I would do is to sign a compact with the international community, particularly America and Europe,” he said, referring to similar pact signed by the US and Kenya in July 2015 to share information and cooperate more closely on graft and money laundering. Besides corruption, Morlu pointed out healthcare delivery as one important aspect for consideration by his administration. “We will invest massively in healthcare,” he said. On that manifesto, the former Auditor General said he would immediately recruit roughly 225 medical doctors — Liberian doctors to return to home. This would involve spending $50 to $60 million out of Liberia’s national budget and would immediately improve Liberia’s chronic doctor shortage. The doctors would simultaneously serve as teaching physicians as well as work at area hospitals. Mr. Morlu emphasized similar massive investment in the education system, noting that funding for these investments would come from the money recovered from his fight against corruption. He added that for every dollar that is saved from corruption, 60% goes toward healthcare, 40% goes toward education.” His proposal, was, however, not specific about the potential amount that could be recovered from clamping down on corruption. Commenting on his previous statement that the “government under the leadership of Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is three times more corrupt than all other governments, Mr. Morlu said his statement was vindicated by many serious minded individuals home and abroad. He said the United States Ambassador to Liberia at the time visited the General Auditing Commission’s office under the assertion. The former AG said the US envoy spent six hours in his office just to get a fair appreciation of the comment. After their meeting, he said the US Ambassador reportedly informed President Sirleaf to work with him (Morlu) to address the situation.