22 August 2013

Liberia: Back to the GAC - Dismissed Employees Ordered Reinstated

Few weeks after the dismissal of former Auditor General Robert who was accused of summarily getting rid of close to 50 employees of the GAC for "budgetary constraints," an Ad-Hoc Committee set up by the Liberian Senate to investigate the action has ordered the reinstatement of the dismissed men and women.

The action to order the reinstatement of the affected employees is against the backdrop of its findings in which it say the dismissals is wrong.

The Chairperson of the committee, Grand Bassa County Senator Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence told the Senate Plenary that following weeks of thoughtful investigation by the committee, it was realized that after dismissing about 39 employees in 2012 at the GAC, AG Kilby immediately employed 74 additional employees in the sane year.

According to her, such employment was a complete contrast to the justification made by the former GAC Auditor that budgetary constraints necessitated the dismissal of the 39 employees.

The Grand Bassa lawmaker explained that based on the committee findings, there was a wrongful dismissal which was followed by mass employment, including the creation of new departments.

"As we speak, considering the functions of the GAC, the entity is overstaffed with 464 employees, there also exists a duplication of functions," she added.

Senator Lawrence noted that the committee in its findings also realized a huge increment in the budgetary allotment of the entity from US$3m plus in the 2011/2012 budget to over US$4m which is also a contradiction to the dismissals.

"The GAC paid huge money to build the capacity of the dismissed employees, but did not utilize their skills, instead employed new staff that needed to be trained again," she added.

The Grand Bassa county lawmaker further revealed that most of the dismissed employees were not given their just benefits, citing a story where a dismissed employee who worked with the GAC for 13 years was given a benefit covering three years.

She recommended in her report that Plenary should forward the report to the Ministry of Labor for further action, including but not limited to possible reemployment, quoting section 1 of the Labor law which speaks to wrongful dismissal, there should be reinstatement with reasonable and due compensation.

The recommendations also indicated that the GAC submits a report to the Senate to justify why 39 employees were sacked and 74 instantly employed, and the creation of new departments, and the GAC employee, who worked for 13 years was only paid for 3 years is given the balance 10 years benefits.

It can be recalled that the dismissed Auditor General of the Republic of Liberia Robert Kilby in 2012 dismissed over 39 employees at the General Auditing Commission (GAC) based on what he termed as "budgetary constraint" which resulted to a huge public outcry condemning the dismissals.

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