BWI Sacks Principal For “Nepotism, Administrative Improprieties”


Monrovia – The Principal of the Booker Washington Institute (BWI) in Margibi County has been dismissed for “nepotism, administrative improprieties and gross disrespect” to the institute’s Board of governors.

Report By: Yawah Y. Jaivey in Margibi County

The Ministry of Education’s letter dated May 16, 2019, noted that the decision to dismiss Atty. Harris Fumba Tarnue of his position was triggered by the institution’s Board of Governors resolution declaring a unanimous vote of no confidence in his leadership as principal.

Earlier, the Board of Governors submitted a formal complaint against Mr. Tarnue to the Education Ministry alleging several counts including nepotism, administrative improprieties and gross disrespect to the Board.

The board stated: “The Board conducted several evaluation exercises of the institution’s programs, and the quality of its management, to determine the suitability for the advancement of the institution and the maintenance of tranquility in its operations.”

The BWI’s Board of Governors in its communication to MOE, a copy of which is in the possession of FrontPageAfrica, disclosed that its grievance committee probing several counts against Mr. Tarnue points to evidence of nepotism, supported by the admission of the Principal.

“Payroll review by the Board, where multiple employees under the Principal’s supervision were found to be members of his family, and that in some cases, new positions were created to specifically accommodate those family members,” the Board added in its communication.

Mr. Tarnue dismissal comes several wweeks after FrontPageAfrica reported that the BWI had approved some eleventh graders to sit the regional exams intended for only 12 graders.

The eleveth garders were later disqulaified but the aftermath of the decision sparked discontent amongst several eduactors in the county includig the students who complained that selecting the junior students was based on nepotism.

The Board’s grievance committee reported alleged wrongful action of Mr. Tarnue against some staff of the school, including departmental heads which resulted in dismissal, demotions, cut in allowances and loss of housing.

The Board asserted that these actions on the part of the principal were retribution against those who spoke out at the fact-finding forum led by the Board’s constituted grievance committee despite the Board earlier assurance of its protection.

The school’s Board added that the principal ignored their assurance and penalized the staff, terming such action as “show of gross disregard for the Board and bringing the Board to public disrepute”.

“That by terminating and reassigning a departmental head and unilaterally appointing another without the Board’s approval contravenes the charter of the school and usurps the authority of the Board,” the Board said.

Additionally, the Board reported that from the campus tour, the dormitories are poorly maintained and the sanitary conditions of the bathrooms pose a serious health risk to students.

The Board intimated that with the appalling conditions of the school’s facilities, the administration’s attention has been shifted away from the regular program to short term programs, thus leading to a poor performance of students in the regular program.

Based on discussion with some faculty and students, the Board said it has observed that the campus is divided and highly polarized.

The BWI’s Board of Governors in their communication said that with these counts, it was now factual that Principal Tarnue has failed to abide by the basic principles of education, adding that everyone is entitled to a safe, orderly and respectful environment.

The Board then declared that it cannot work with a Principal who renders open disrespect and usurps its authority, noting that allowing the Principal to lead the school would mean running the institution into the ground.

The Board asserted that in a bid to protest the interest of the institution, members of the body have passed a majority vote of no-confidence against the Principal with recommendations for his immediate replacement.

The Board, however, at a meeting held on  Friday, May 22, in Kakata, Margibi County appointed Mr. James Wremongar Walker, the Industrial Coordinator at the school to serve as acting Officer-In-Charge to safeguard the assets of the institution pending the appointment of a new Principal.

Mr. James Wremongar Walker replaces Atty. Harris Fumba Tarnue who has been serving the position since 2016.

At the same time, Mr. Walker, who is now the acting Principal of the BWI, has vowed to reunite the workforce of the institution and fight the negative vices that polarized the administration of his predecessor.

Meanwhile, Mr. John S. Youboty, Sr., Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Booker Washington Institute, told FrontPageAfrica that the decision of the Ministry of Education to relieve the BWI’s Principal of his position met the full acquiescence of the office of the President of the Republic of Liberia.