LIBERIA: 20 Trade Union Organizations Frets Over NPA Officials Prolong Suspension

Despite recent written communication by over 20 trade union organizations in Liberia including the Dock Workers Union of Liberia to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf appealing to her to reconsider her decision in suspending two senior officials of the National Port Authority (NPA) based on report from the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) for their alleged link to corruption at that institution, reports gathered has indicated that members of these trade union organizations are still calling on the Liberian leader to rethink and have these officials reinstated for the good of the entity.

Some members of these trade union organizations who spoke to the GNN expressed frustration over the prolonged suspension of Mrs. Matilda W. Parker, and the Comptroller, Mrs. Christina K. Pealay, stressing that since these officials were publicly shamed by the LACC for their alleged link to corruption, it is yet to submit evidence on prove those accusations wrong or right.

The trade union officials also decried the action of the Liberian leader for hastily suspending both the Managing Director of the NPA and her Comptroller without allowing the LACC to prove its allegation against the two officials, while at the same time seizing their benefits including salaries, vehicles and assigned securities.

The trade union officials also questioned the motives behind the suspension of the NPA officials by the Liberian leader, noting that dozens of other government officials who were also indicted by the LACC of corruption are not been suspended by the President.

Some of the reasons outlined by the trade union organizations in their communication to the Liberian leader were as follows:

1. The LACC has proven to be an untrustworthy institution.

2. Three weeks into the suspension of these Executives, and the investigative findings in summary or a full report, have not been made available to the Managing Director, Comptroller and / or the general public.

3. Other government workers implicated in this case, and other cases, that have been accused in concluded GAC and LACC investigations have not been suspended.

4. LACC stated at the Thursday, May 7, 2015, MICAT Press Briefing, that anyone concluding a LACC investigation is considered innocent until proven guilty by a court.

“Many of these guys who were accused and indicted by the LACC for corruption are still serving their respective positions in government, while others have left the country for the United States. Now Mrs. Parker and her Comptroller are now been used as sacrificial lambs disgracefully,” a member of one of the trade union organizations speaking to reporters yesterday expressed his disappointment in both the Liberian leader and the LACC.

As the prolonged suspension of the two officials of the NPA continues, Information gathered by our staff revealed that it is the opinion of many that a massive negative campaign is ongoing within the administrative rank of the entity spearheaded by the acting Managing Director of the entity who prior to his appointment as acting MD served as Deputy for Operations of the Corporation. According to the Act of the National Port Authority, the MD is appointed by the Board and not the President. Why was the report not submitted to the Board for action?

As the game to tarnish the reputation of the suspended NPA officials, sources closed to the GNN has also revealed that the office of the suspended Comptroller was broken into by unknown employees apparently under the instruction of the acting administration, this has however not been confirmed.

In order to defuse the tension regarding the suspension of the two officials at the NPA by the President without tangible reason, recently the press secretary to the Liberian leader on a local radio station publicly cleared the air that NPA officials were accused and not guilty, quoting Executive Mansion sources.

Speaking further, Mr. Jerolinmek Piah clarified that the suspension of the Managing Director of National Port Authority (NPA), Matilda Parker, and others by the President does not in any way suggest that they are guilty of committing any crime.

He said the suspension of Madam Parker was based on the findings of an investigation by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), and as such Liberians must follow the subsequent probe as has been instructed by the President.

He stressed that if Parker and the other suspended officials were found guilty of committing any acts of corruption it would have been unnecessary for President Sirleaf to instruct the Ministry of Justice to collaborate with the LACC and all accused persons associated with the investigation, to inform additional actions, should they be required.

According to Piah, although the President recognizes the fact that the suspended NPA Managing Director is “a very talented and astute personality under whose stewardship great progress has been made at the NPA, she has no other option but to act appropriately in the midst of reports emanating from the LACC.

Contrary to the press secretary statement quoting his boss, the President that “The suspended NPA Managing Director is “a very talented and astute personality under whose stewardship great progress has been made at the NPA,” with this insinuation from the presidency, ordinary Liberians are now pondering over this ‘Flattering Statement’, that a person whose stewardship has made a great progress in the growth and development of the National Port is been severely degraded with the support of the presidency.

The many questions that flips the lips of Liberians regarding the unilateral suspension of Madam Parker and Mrs. Pealay, without the input of the Board of the entity is heard from every street corner in Monrovia and it’s environ.

However, detail of the LACC so call indictment will follow in our subsequent posting.

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