15 November 2012

Liberia: Contradictions in Kilby's Reasons to Dismiss

Auditor General Robert L. Kilby has provided what appears to be contradictions in his reasons to dismiss more than 40 employees at the General Auditing Commission (GAC). The Auditor General is expected to re-appear today to provide further information on his decision to lay off the workers.

AG Kilby initially told the public that the General Auditing Commission is faced with financial constraints for which he took the action.

However, during his appearance Tuesday, the Auditor General told the Committee that he instituted the dismissals to de-politicize the GAC and that there is inadequate space to accommodate all of the employees, and noted that the entity is overcrowded.

In furtherance of his contradictions to the senators, AG Kilby disclosed that audit reports he reviewed indicate that those employees he fired are "incompetent".

On claims that the GAC is faced with financial constraints, some of the dismissed employees refuted his argument on grounds that the commission currently has US$7 million in its budget as compared to US$4 million last year.

As he provided different information to the Senate Audit Committee, students of the University of Liberia stormed the Capitol in solidarity with the affected employees, chanting anti-Kilby slogans in the chambers of the Capitol, but the Liberia National Police was called to deter any violence that would have occurred.

The AG was later whisked off the scene following the committee's hearing as a means of preventing a violent situation.

AG Kilby: "I want to set standards that will reflect efficiency; and based upon my observation, I deemed it expedient to scrutinize employees as a way of reflecting credibility and my decision was not to witch-hunt, but a process that will bring pride to the GAC like other international auditing institutions".

He disclosed that the dismissed employees have limited knowledge of the practice of auditing, and as such, they could not be absorbed in other departments.

However, in the wake of the dismissal, the Auditor-General told the lawmakers that he contracted the services of four Americans to serve as Directors in various capacities at GAC.

At today's hearing, AG Kilby is expected to present documents as requested by the committee on the dismissed employees which will include their qualifications, experience and salaries prior to their dismissal from the GAC.

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