FPA INVESTIGATION: Liberia Pension Scheme Robbing Pensioners of 25 Percent of Retirement Money
Monrovia – Just days after the Liberian government committed itself to paying stipulated handshake packages for all retirees in their various categories based on the number of years worked, a FrontPage Africa investigation has found that the Central Bank of Liberia is struggling to cash pensioners checks leading to some money changers cashing the checks outside the bank for 25 percent of what pensioners are due from their own checks.
The government recently announced that approximately, more than 2,154 employees from 14 entities of the Government were retired after reaching the age of retirement consistent with the new social security law of 2017. A program for honoring the retirees was planned for August but has been canceled due to the prevailing health situation.
At the Slipway Community School in central Monrovia Monday, several family members and ex-soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) were seen lining up at a makeshift center, far away from the CBL trying to cash checks.
Annie Wisseh, a widow of a former AFL soldier told FrontPageAfrica that she was in line for two hours to cash her LD14,000, as part of handshake earning from her late husband.
At today’s rate of 197, LD 14,000 comes to USD72.57.
The payment represents two-months pension pay for AFL personnel who were slowly retired with pensions following the end of the civil war.
“This is all I have. If they take 25 percent what will leave there for me to feed my family during this Corona time”, Wisseh lamented.
Authorities at the CBL contacted Monday said it was doing everything possible to cash checks and encourage pensioners to have patience. “The teller area cannot accommodate all the pensioners the same time; therefore, they are given time. Those who cannot wait, go to money changers. The bank is doing everything possible to satisfy the pensioners. I empathize with these old people, but they just have to wait for their time,” a Bank administrator told FPA Monday.
Per the CBL policy, pensioners are required to be paid at commercial banks or through their account.
The CBL insists that it is still encasing checks and the process is expected to continue for the next two months.
One executive said Monday that an investigation is ongoing. “We have already begun to investigate this alleged scheme. Thank you for turning the spotlight on this issue, which affects our poor mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters who are surviving on fixed income.”