Public access to contracting information on the Legislative Support Projects remains opaque and overall riddled with unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles that makes it virtually impossible for civil society and community groups that might have interest to monitor the projects to do so. Even in cases where there are formal request for information on contract documents of projects that has already been awarded to companies for implementation, there is blatant denial on the part of the Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE), the agency clothed with the authority to spearhead the contracting awarding process and oversee the implementation of the projects on so called “legal grounds basis” in sharp contrast of the government of Liberia open government agenda and it’s Open Government Commitment as part of the OGP process. On June 2, 2014 IREDD held high level meeting with the Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment introducing our interest to monitor the Legislative Support Projects and subsequently followed up with a formal communication on June 4, 2015 after several failed attempts through phone calls for the project contracts. The best we got were excerpts of the contract documents extracted from the main contracts. The question here is what does LACE stands to gain by hiding public contracting documents funded with taxpayer’s money?
Well, drawing from the much trumpeted government commitment towards open government and lessons from the 80 million expenditure on the County Development funds across the country since 2006 which is yet to be visible or impact on the population, the need for more openness on contracting information on the Legislative Support Project cannot be overemphasized.