19 November 2012

Liberia: AG Besieged

Students from several universities in Monrovia, who on Friday besieged the offices of the General Auditing Commission (GAC) and demanded the immediate resignation of AG Robert Kilby for recently dismissing over 40 employees of GAC, threatened to continue their protest today.

Mr. Kilby's claim of "budgetary constraints as his reason for dismissing the employees has been refuted by the dismissed employees who said they were sacked and branded as "Morlu Surrogates."

Since the dismissal of the employees, Mr. Kilby has come under intense pressure from student and civil society groupings demanding reinstatement of the employees because they allege he dismissed them on malice.

The students, headed by Mr. Parick Saweh, Standard bearer of the Student Unification Party, besieged to the offices of the GAC Friday to press their demand.

"His action is wicked and unpatriotic. He needs to resign and reinstate the GAC employees. The government spent huge sums of money on them for the reconstruction of this country," Mr. Saweh told this paper Friday.

He added: "We will like to say that injustice at the GAC is an injustice everywhere," amidst cheers and slogans from the students dressed in khaki outfits.

"We are trying to remind him today that we are going to be here until he can take action," he the student leader insisted.

"We are calling him to resign. We want to resist the "Kilbynization Policy", we are going to resist that policy because that decision is the action of the devil," the students said.

Embattled Mr. Kilby last week, who should have appeared before the committee with a payroll analysis and other pertinent documents the committee demanded him to produce,

however asked the Public Accounts Committee of the Senate investigating him for dismissing at least 42 employees for up to Tuesday to prepare for the inquest.

His accusers also alleged that a bogus audit contract valued at US$27,000 was entered into with Parker and Associates in contravention with the Public Procurement and Concession law.

The dismissed employees lamented that Parker and Associates did not meet the bidder's qualification criteria as required by section 32 of the PPC act.

They further accused Mr. Kilby of granting a contract valued US$105,300 to V.I.P. Security guard to manage his personal security although there is no budget line supporting such action in fiscal 2012/2013 budget.

According to the aggrieved workers, Mr. Kilby recently acquired a vehicle costing US$56,000 at the expense of the meager resources of the institution in the face of "budgetary constraints" as asserted by him.

Commenting on the payroll and budget constraints as claimed by Mr. Kilby to be his prime reason for dismissing 42 GAC employees, the group's spokesperson said the Auditor General is in error.

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