LIBERIA: Labour Minister Suspends Work Permit Of Lebanese Businessman

Monrovia, November 15, 2022… The Minister of Labour Cllr. Charles H. Gibson has with immediate effect suspended the Work Permit of Mr. Raed EL Khoury, Warehouse Manager, at Right Choice Supermarkets in Congo Town who is accused of beating a Liberian Security Guard assigned at the Supermarket.

Announcing his decision Tuesday during a meeting with the complainant, the accused, representatives of the Supermarket, the Budy Security Guard Service for which the Complainant, Mr. William Socree worked at the National Human Rights Commission, the Labour Minister said that his Ministry was contemplating revolting Mr. Khoury work permit which falls with the description of the Minister of Labour, but due to other considerations and pending finality of the criminal aspect of the case, the Ministry herewith suspends his work permit.

According to Cllr. Gibson, the decision taken will not allow Mr. Khoury to be seen in any place of work until this issue is resolved and the Ministry of Labour can make a final determination.

He noted that the Ministry is restrained from revolting his work permit at this time to give justice a chance as well as provide him an opportunity to vindicate himself, if possible, in court.

“We have been receiving information from social and other sources that an employee assigned with Right Choice Supermarket was physically assaulted on the job. We order an investigation and realize that the issue is bounded to both criminal and Labor matters. We are not charged with the jurisdiction to get involved with the criminality aspect of it. What falls within our jurisdiction borders on the treatment of workers in the workplace. This Ministry has the authority to issue remedial orders.” Minister Gibson added.

According to Minister, the complainant is an indigent and vulnerable young man whose monthly salary is Ninety United States Dollars (US$90) far below the Minimum Wage of Liberia, he complained of pain in the body, being molested, and physically assaulted.

Speaking further, Minister Gibson said interestingly, the accused said that he was born in Liberia and has worked in the country almost all of his life and is unfortunate that such a situation would occur to someone who has spent all his life in Liberia and living among Liberians.

Cllr. Gibson indicated that the Ministry of Labour takes seriously expectations of employers taking advantage of workers who are vulnerable and for some reason need help and assistance.

“It is important to note that a worker being poor, doesn’t make him weak. He has the right too. All men must be treated equally in the place of work. This ministry is charged with the responsibility to protect the rights of workers as well as those who employed workers.”

He used the occasion to also call for the assistance of the Liberia National Police (LNP), to take siege of the matter, and investigate which will be monitored by the Ministry of Labour and National Human Right Commission noting that Liberia is a country of law and all rights including the accused must be protected as the court handle the matter.

The Liberia Labour Minister re-emphasized why these processes are ongoing, Mr. Khoury will not be allowed to work in Liberia.

The Accused was turned over to the officers of the LNP who were called in to have him arrested to be reminded in detention for further investigation.

Meanwhile, The Budy Security Guard Service who is the employer of the complainant, Mr. William Socree is summoned to appeal before the Assistant Minister for Labour Standards to answer questions about why the complainant is being paid far below the minimum Wage of Liberia.

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