18 March 2014

Liberia: GAC Plans Mass Sackings

Plans, if information this paper is following worth ounce of straightforwardness, have been hatched by the management of the General Auditing Commission (GAC) to dismiss several employees.

In keeping with the plans as this paper gathered from sources close to the national auditing body, the over 400 employees at the GAC will be sliced into half, which is to say that 200 persons are likely to be affected by the advanced sacking plans which come on the fringe of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's assertion in her state of the nation address in January to medium-size the workforce there to make it more effective and responsive to its responsibilities.

As revealed by the sources, the planned sackings will affect three key departments namely IT, Communication and State Enterprise.

The State Enterprise Department was instrumental in the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) audit that has caused stirs in the political theatre so far. Former NOCAL officials are still fumbling with providing tangible and clear-cut information regarding their roles in the millions of dollars "lobbying fees" to some members of the National Legislature. More besides, it is gathered that weight is being placed on these departments because they are still seen as advancing "Morluism or Kilbyism," meaning that there are people who still have hidden loyalty to the former Auditor Generals, John S. Morlu, II and Robert Kilby. Mr. Morlu under whose watch the GAC gained notoriety was denied the chance to head the entity for another four years following the extremity of his first four-year contract signed with the government and the European Union (EU). His stay at the GAC was marred by controversies mostly bordering on his utterances and style of auditing, the basis upon which President Ellen Johnson Sileaf, in advance, ruled out renewing his contract.

His successor, Robert S. Kilby was nipped in the butt when it came to light that he had used his office to award a contract to a firm said to his, a charge he denied. What will happen then, as sources indicated, is that the directors of these would-be affected departments will be reduced from eight to four while deputies who are serving as managers of departments will become supervisors.

Also gathered is that the changes to these departments will also commensurate with salary readjustments, which is to say that they will no longer make the salary they are presently making. Ahead of the unconfirmed planned mass sackings, about 50 employees are said to have either tendered in their resignations or may resign before then.

The communication department at the GAC which was later contacted earlier could not confirm or deny the information.

Mr. Edwin Clarke of the Communication Department only told this paper said "I have to contact authority first." And when asked how soon he would do that, he replied "any time I got in touch with her," a reference to the current Auditor General.

Under the reign of former Auditor General, Robert Kilby, dozens of young Liberians numbering about 40 persons were dismissed for what the then management termed budgetary constraints.

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