Liberia: NPHIL Management, Former Director General React to GAC Audit Report On Double Salary and Misuse of Donor Fund

Monrovia — Cllr. Tolbert Nyenswah, former Director General of the National Public Health Institute who has been indicted by a recent audit report by the General Auditing Commission (GAC) that he received double salaries from NPHIL and the Ministry of Health amounting to paid US$24,000.00 and L$624,000.00 has refuted the claims by the supreme audit body, claiming that allegations in the report are complete fallacy and lacking facts.

At the same time, the management of NPHIL clarifies that contrary to the assertion made in the GAC press Release, she enjoys the confidence of her donors and is currently managing several donor projects. NPHIL stresses that donors do conduct routine audits of her finances sent to the Institution, and due to the entity's ability to comply and report per donors' expectations, she continues to manage projects worth millions of U.S. dollars.

Below Is Nyenswah's Verbatim Response to the GAC Audit Report:

GAC's Assertion: The GAC audit observed that the then Director General (DG) of NPHIL who prior to his appointment as Deputy Minister of Health at the Ministry of Health (MOH) was paid by both entities for three (3) months: January, February, and April of 2017. The Ministry of Health paid US$10,803.13 and L$297,532.34 and NPHIL paid US$24,000.00 and L$624,000.00 in net salaries. The GAC says that the double payment should be refunded to the Government of Liberia.

My Response: As can be seen, there is no double payment indicated here. National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) got enacted into law in December 2016, the team commenced work immediately in January of 2017 as time was of the essence. The Board approved salary of the Director General (DG) was US10,000.00 net, after a thorough vetting and analysis of other State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) and autonomous agencies of Liberia, based on Civil Service Agency Recommendation. As rightly said, the Director General previously served as Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Health. Before NPHIL commenced paying the Director General, he was still on the payroll of the MOH up to April 2017. The Board of Directors of the National Public Health Institute completed salary vetting process and finally approved a salary structure of NPHIL on March 16, 2017. "Mr. Director General with compliments, I present to you official feedback following the March 14, 2017 emergency board meeting of the NPHIL held at the EOC. This is in consonance with the approved Act Section: 3.3 Function of the Board of Article J which stipulates that: the board shall approve the salary structure of the Director General and the Deputy Director General". When the board of NPHIL finally structured the salaries of NPHIL's senior management, which depicted a higher salary for the DGas compared to MOH's salary, NPHIL management, in its wisdom, prorated the salary of the DG accounting for the difference between the NPHIL's approved salary and the amount paid by MOH. MOH paid the DG for four (4) months (January to April of 2017) and not three (3) months as indicated in the GAC report.

Let's see the facts: As per the GAC report, MOH and NPHIL paid the DG US$10,813.13 and US$24,000.00, respectively- totaling US$34,813.13. The report also asserts that the DG was paid L$297,532.34 and L$624,000 by both entities, in the same order as stated above, totaling L$921,532.24. At the time, CBL's USD to LRD exchange rate was US$1.00 to L$165.00. If you deflate the LRD component of the DG's salary (L$921,532.24) by the prevailing rate at the time (165), the USD equivalent is US$5,585.04. If this amount is added to the total USD components received by the DG from both MOH and NPHIL (US$34,813.13), both amounts total to US$40,398.17, which depicts the DG's approved salary for the four (4) months: January to April 2017, the difference (US$398.17) owing to minor fluctuations in the rate. So as can be seen, the DG was not overpaid as indicated by the report and NPHIL's administration, at the time, did the honorable and most expedient thing by prorating the salary and paying the DG the difference.Furthermore, on February 20th, 2017, the Deputy Director General of NPHIL at the time wrote the then Minister of Finance and Development planning putting him on notice (see attached). "Removal of the Director General name from MOH payroll". In fact, the Auditor General should probe in-depth, the Government of Liberia owed the DGtwo months salaries (September and October 2019) in the tone of approximately US$10,000.00 GOL reduced harmonization policy.

In the GAC assertion it mentioned "The GAC says that the double payment should be refunded to the Government of Liberia". What the GAC failed to state is what is the amount to be refunded? What is this Amount? The indisputable FACT is that there's No Amount at all that needs to be refunded. Therefore, the Auditor General made it broad, sweeping, blanket and callous generalizations that double payment should be refunded to the Government of Liberia.

There are well-known and indisputable FACTs that no wrongdoing carried out here. The Auditor General did not do a thorough work. These allegations are ploy, frivolous, sensational, and present alternative facts. These kinds of audit reports are only good for the newspapers headlines. PERIOD!

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