Monrovia -The ongoing saga between the head of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) Elfreda Stewart-Tamba and 10 dismissed individuals is growing deeper on a daily basis despite the intervention of the Supreme Court.
Commissioner General Tamba dismissed the 10 individuals in 2015 on a claim that they were allegedly engaged in corruption. However, the 10 individuals complained to the Supreme Court through their lawyer contending that their dismissal was illegal. Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe who is representing the legal interest of the dismissed individuals told the high court that his clients were dismissed without any due process as required by law. Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh who presided over the case following a hearing ruled and declared that the dismissed individuals were never given any due process therefore both the LRA authority and the dismissed should return to status quo ante, they should return to their normal positions prior to the court proceeding. Following the high court’s ruling in October 2015, the 10 individuals affected again complained that they are yet to be reinstated. Cllr. Gongloe, the lead lawyer for the dismissed individuals told the high court through a bill of information last week that despite the high court’s order, Madam Tamba has refused to further pay the dismissed employees for the month of February 2016 and has also barred them from entering the premises of the LRA. “Wherefore and in view of foregoing, the informant prays the court to order the respondent to pay the informants their salaries for the month of February and to order her obey the court order to return to status quo,” said Cllr. Gongloe. Transferees, not employees However, reacting to a FrontPageAfrica news story on Gongloe’s bill of information captioned:“High Court Mockery? LRA boss refuses to implement Supreme Court Mandate”, Madam Tamba told FPA that she remains law abiding as a public servant she respects the Supreme Court. Commissioner General Tamba stated that she has long remained silent on the matter because she was advised that the matter is in court but it was necessary at this time to clear the air. The LRA boss indicated that the individuals in question were transferees from the Ministry of Finance to the LRA and not employees but based on the Supreme Court’s mandate, the entity decided to pay them for December and January. According to the Commissioner General, the 10 individuals cannot get further get pay because they have refused to write an essay earmarked for all transferred employees, which led to their suspension for a period of one month. “We were mandated by the Supreme Court to re-instate the transferees who were transferred from the Ministry of Finance to the LRA. Based on the order of the Supreme Court, we decided to pay them but let me say they are not employees, they are transferees and will have to go through a process before placement”, she said The Commissioner General explained that before the 10 transferees are employed they must meet the criteria set up by the entity by wiring an essay and going through other processes. She said because of limited space at the LRA offices in Paynesville, a training facility at the University of Liberia which is being used by the LRA has been available for the individuals to take them through what she termed as orientation. “We were taking them through orientation to be able to place them but they bluntly refused to write an essay, so they were suspended for one month”, she further narrated. When contacted, one of the dismissed employees, Prince Gbeinsaye, stated that the LRA boss was trying to witch-hunt them because of the court’s action taken against her. “We were vetted by the Liberia Institute of Public Administration (LIPA) before we were absorbed into the system, this is a complete witch-hunt but we look up to the Supreme Court for the final decision,” said Gbeinsaye.