Statement on the Liberian National Red Cross Society

Published: 21 March 2016

Monrovia/Geneva, 17 March 2016 - A senior delegation from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) met this week with Liberian President, H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, to discuss a resolution to the challenges facing the Liberian National Red Cross Society's (LNRCS).

The delegation, led by the IFRC's Regional Director for Africa, Dr Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, and comprising IFRC Under Secretary General for Programmes and Operations, Dr Garry Conille, and Director of Governance and Board Support, Frank Mohrhauer, also met with other key stakeholders, including the LNRCS's President and Vice Presidents, the chair of its interim committee, and other partners from the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

Dr Conille said:

"President Sirleaf and other stakeholders have shown strong commitment to ensuring that Liberia has a National Society that is able to respond effectively to the needs of vulnerable communities. We also found a broad commitment to ensuring that the National Society is well-managed, accountable and transparent, and able to regain the full trust of the people of Liberia and its partners."

Stakeholders agreed on the need for a full, independent, external audit of the LNRCS. The IFRC will work with all stakeholders to ensure that daily operations are not disrupted while the audit is underway. The IFRC will also activate its Compliance and Mediation Committee to oversee this process.

In late 2015, following a standard internal audit of expenditures related to the Ebola operation, the IFRC uncovered irregularities, which in turn triggered an internal investigation. This investigation found evidence of fraud, and the IFRC has been working with the National Society and partners in Liberia to urgently address these findings. The IFRC has a zero tolerance policy for fraud.

Dr Nafo-Traoré recalled the courage and dedication of LNRCS volunteers and staff.

"These volunteers and staff played a critical role in Liberia's response to the Ebola outbreak. Their dedication and courage helped bring that outbreak to an end, saving many lives and preventing further grief," she said. "The volunteers and staff, and the communities which rely on them, have every right to expect a National Society that is well managed, accountable, and transparent."

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