17 July 2013

Liberia: Kilby's Dismissal Backfires - Senate Reluctant to Concur

The dismissal of Mr. Robert Kilby from the position of Auditor General at the General Auditing Commission (GAC) is in limbo as there is wide reluctance among many senators to concur with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on the decision.

Senator Clarice A. Jah (Margibi-Liberty Party), whose husband Rev. Sylvester Jah, Human Resource director at GAC and her brother, Randolph Davis, special assistant to Kilby, Monday denied receiving any letter from the President requesting concurrence on Kilby's dismissal.

Both men were among more than 60 new employees hired by Kilby after he took over GAC and fired 40 employees citing a bloated payroll.

"Have you found out whether the senate has received a communication from the President on the matter? Have we read any letter from the President? No!

"I have not heard it; I have not read it; I have not seen it (Kilby's dismissal communication from President Sirleaf). So I cannot speak of something that I am not part of or have not seen," Sen. Jah, chair of the Senate Committee on Executive, told this paper Monday.

President Sirleaf last week dismissed Kilby citing conflict of interest, which constitutes a breach of his terms of preference as Auditor General of Liberia and forwarded a communication to the legislature for concurrence on the matter.

After receiving the communication, the House, where his dismissal recommendation emerged, immediately concurred with the President leaving the senate to concur to seal the dismissal of Kilby whose ascendancy to the GAC has been controversial.

But senators, especially those whose spouses or relatives were hired by Kilby at the GAC after he dismissed over 40 employees citing budgetary constraints, are now reluctant to join the Lower House in affirming the President's communication.

Despite glaring evidence and documents presented to the legislature, Sen. Jah insisted that even if the letter came before the plenary, Kilby would be given a chance to defend himself before they can concur with or reject the President's request for concurrence.

"I believe that Kilby should be brought back to clear himself before any decision can be taken," she stressed.

In an earlier interview, Senate President Pro-Tempore, Sen. Gbezohngar M. Findley told reporters that he was not aware of Mr. Kilby's the dismissal.

"I have no communication from the President concerning Robert Kilby before the senate. So what I came to the House of Representatives for has to do with a different matter," Sen. Findley told reporters in the Lower House following a secret tete-a-tete, with Speaker Alex Tyler minutes before the House concurred with President Sirleaf.

But the bottom line is that unimpeachable sources at the senate told this paper that the senate has resolved to reject the President's decision on Mr. Kilby should they receive the communication this week.

"Some of our colleagues Senators don't want their people to be sacked at the GAC like the 49 people who were dismissed by Mr., Kilby. So they are doing all they can, to convince the President in withdrawing her decision and these senators are very influential when it comes to decision making at the level of the plenary," our source, seeking strict anonymity, indicated.

As the quagmire over Kilby's dismissal lingers, he could continue to enjoy the benefits and amenities Auditor General despite the controversy over his tenure.

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