Monrovia – Lawyers representing seven former employees have given a five-day ultimatum to the Chairman of the Liberia Anti Corruption Commission, Cllr. James Verdier, to remit salaries belonging to their clients.
The legal counsel of the aggrieved former employees of Liberia’s main anti graft institution is threatening to “take stringent legal action” against Cllr. Verdier and the LACC.
In a letter to Cllr. Verdier dated February 13, 2018 from the JAB Law Chambers, the lawyers mentioned that the LACC Chairman “wrongfully appropriated” tax remittance of the ex-employees.
The ex-employees represented by the law firm are: Daniel Tipayson, Embree Sirleaf, Comfort Wotorson, Aaron Aboah, Roosevelt Doe, Wonderr Freeman, Robertha Kamah, and D. Blama Kofa.
“Our clients have submitted to us documents showing that as former staff of the LACC, they were entitled to tax remittance from the Government of Liberia… which remittances amount to US$57,845.46,” stated the letter, which was signed by Cllr. Joseph M. Kollie, Sr.
“Our clients have intimated to us that despite their many attempts to have you pay their remittances, you have decline and flatly refused to give back to them what is justly and lawfully theirs.”
The former staffs of the LACC in a complaint to the Senate Committee on Autonomous Commissions and Agencies said in 2013 they discovered that taxes were being deducted from their salaries progressively (about 25%) instead of stipulated 10%.
Upon realization, the then employees made a request through the office of Cllr. Verdier for a return of their surplus taxation.
This request for reimbursement was approved by the then Deputy Minister for Revenue at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, Dr. James Kollie, to be paid in three installments for periods covering 2009 to 2014.
In an exclusive interview with FrontPageAfrica in January 2018, Cllr. Verdier said the MFDP disbursed the remittance of the over taxation from LACC’s budget that were overturned to the Ministry of Finance due to their inability to exhaust their programs during the Ebola period.
He later admitted to FPA that portion of the remittance was used to purchase a generator for the commission, although the former employees argued that the generator was never purchased.
Verdier insisted that the LACC would not disburse monies to former employees because the commission could not seek the interest of individuals who are no longer in the employ of the commission.
And he suggested that the former employees seek redress by going to court instead of making allegations through the media.
Now, the former employees are seeking litigation into the matter. According to the communication to Cllr. Verdier, he is to pay the seven clients all funds entrusted to the LACC for onward remittance to the employees (former employees).
“We shall accord you until Monday, February 19, 2018 – five working days as of the date of this letter (February 13) – to pay to our clients what you have unjustly and unlawfully appropriated,” the communication stressed.
“Kindly note that your failure to pay as requested or to negotiate a settlement will lead us with no other alternative but to institute the most stringent legal action against you and the LACC.”