Liberia: Unqualified Agents or Getting Rid of 'George Weah Children'? - Mass Dismissal Within EPs Sparks Concern

Some of the officers who have been dismissed say they believe their dimissal is a witch-hunt (file photo).

Monrovia — Approximately 200 officers of the Executive Protection Service (EPS) are reported to be facing termination under the directive of the new Director, Sam Gaye. Allegations suggest that these personnel are being let go due to their perceived loyalty to former President George Manneh Weah.

Director Sam Gaye has defended the terminations, stating that the aim is not a witch-hunt but rather to ensure the professionalism and adequacy of the EPS staff. Gaye emphasized the importance of having well-trained and qualified individuals in the EPS, pointing out that the General Auditing Commission (GAC) had also raised concerns about the qualifications of some officers during an audit.

"Those who were deemed unqualified to provide VIP protection will be removed. And those we have vetted and declared qualified will be retained and sent for training at the police academy. We want to be fair and transparent. This is not a witch hunt," Mr. Gaye told FrontPageAfrica.

Gaye highlighted that individuals who do not meet the necessary standards for VIP protection are being removed to enhance the effectiveness and credibility of the EPS.

According to information from EPS sources, there have been concerns about the recruitment practices under the previous administration, criticizing the lack of thorough background checks, training, and educational requirements for personnel.

During a recent incident on Thursday where some dismissed officers of the EPS engaged with the Liberia National Police, a tense situation arose when the officers resisted disarmament, citing grievances over unpaid benefits and disputing the legitimacy of their dismissals. The police managed to detain three of the officers involved.

The situation remains tense as the dismissed officers express their discontent, seeking intervention from the Speaker's office. In the midst of these developments, the Human Resource Officer of the EPS has reportedly resigned, citing being pressured to sign dismissal letters against his will.

Some of the officers who have been dismissed told FrontPageAfrica that they believe their dimissal is a witch-hunt and a disservice to them based on perception because Gaye doesn't know on which side their interests had been centered, even though they could not show up due to their ethics.

Some of the officers are reporteldy in possession of weapons and have maintained that if proper reasons are not given for their termination, the EPS should stand ready to face them or pay for damages the current leadership has created for them morally, psychologically, and financially.

Unless these issues are addressed timely, the officers said they will remain unwilling to turn over weapons in their possession.

Some of the dismissed officers claime they are college graudates but were being classfied as "George Weah children".

The dismissal letter issued to all the officers carried the same content.

One of the copies of the communication reads: "The administration of the Executive Protection Service has determined that you did not meet the minimum requisite requirements to serve as an EPS personnel. Additionally, the General Auditing Commission (GAC) in its conclusion of a month-long Audit of the EPS has determined that you failed to meet the minimum criteria to become an EPS personnel and has declared you and many others unfit to remain an EPS Officer.

"Therefore, your service has been terminated with immediate effect.

"Please ensure that you return all EPS properties and materials in your possession to the Human Resource Section before your departure."

Meanwhile, Monrovia was a scene of fear on Thursday, April 18, when what was almost an exchange occurred between some dismissed officers of the EPS and the Liberia National Police.

The aggrieved former officers of EPS who were still in possession of their arms had gone to Voice of Liberia to express their disenchantment when an order was reportedly released from the EPS base to arrest them and have them disarmed.

The dismissed EPS officers who were on the scene tried to resist the police on grounds that they were never paid off and that the dismissal was not appropriate, which almost led to a resumption of gun sounds in Monrovia.

However, the police managed to overpower three of the officers, who were not disarmed and dragged to their headquarters.

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