A serious leadership crisis has engulfed the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) ahead of the much talked about October 10, 2023 polls. It has become a nightmare, a situation if not quickly addressed, may likely cripple the effective collection of the nation’s revenues and undermine the Government’s development agenda.
Information gathered by the GNN has revealed that the newly appointed Deputy Commission for Administration at the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), Samuel Bennett, Jr., is said to be at the center of all of the crises currently unfolding at this vital entity of the Liberian Government.
According to a GNN investigation, sources at the LRA who confided in our staff said Bennett has resolved to administratively overshadow the functions of Thomas Doe Nah, the Commissioner General. This act has left employees pondering why he is doing this, as it is pretty unsettling for everyone.
According to our investigation, Bennett, without the input of the Commissioner General, Doe Nah, who was out of the country, made several new contract employments and staff transfers, grossly disregarding the act that created the entity and undermining the Authority of the Commissioner General. Since then, the CG has reversed the action; Bennett has remained adamant that his decision stands and has been threatening staff to submit to his demands.
Our sources also revealed that the newly appointed Deputy Commissioner made significant transfers affecting LRA employees assigned at the Freeport of Monrovia and Bo Waterside and within the heartbeat of Customs – the Central Assessment Unit (CAU). All of this without consulting the overall boss, who was then out of the country on official assignment.
Section 21 of the Act that established the LRA states that the Commissioner General shall, among other things, be responsible for the administration and supervision of the execution of the Code, and the direction and day-to-day; management and administration of the Authority, for the supervision of officers, managerial staff, and other employees of the Authority as well as other matters of the Authority.
As GNN continues its investigation on the alleged unwarranted attitude of Mr. Bennett, sources at the LRA said, “The Commissioner General is the Chief Executive Officer of the LRA, is supposed to be informed about and approve all major administrative decisions. But this is no longer the case, and it is already affecting core operations at the entity, including revenue collection, because they are no longer working together,” the source said.
Many employees who spoke to our reporter have expressed disappointment in their Deputy Commissioner for Administration for not respecting his immediate boss. “It is not healthy for this entity; this has not happened before for a deputy to try to overshow the Commissioner General. – Since the establishment of the LRA, harmony and goodwill have reigned in senior management.”, an employee who preferred not to be named told the GNN.
One of the sources at the LRA informed the GNN that the Commissioner General, Thomas Doe Nah, was doing all to preserve the integrity of the institution and noted that he remains resolute in the professional handling of the entity and has even reached out to Commissioner Bennett. Still, he has remained adamant about his actions and has refused to meet with his boss.
When the head of communication at the LRA, D. Kaihenneh Sengbeh, was contacted via mobile phone, he politely told our reporter, “I have no comment at this point.”
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