Former Chief Investigator Dies Following Wrongful Dismissal From LACC


Monrovia – Fighting his cause for justice, former Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) chief investigator, Morris Ware’s broken spirit which had a toll on his health, could not continue with the back and forth with the LACC over his sudden dismissal.

“We have two kids together and three on his own. We got married in November 2016, this November supposed to make us one year.”

Unable to recover from the shock, Morris gave up the ghost April 29, 2017 after seven months of rigmarole with the commission over his reinstatement or just benefits.

He was dismissed by Cllr. James Verdier, Chairman of the Commission, allegedly because he leaked information out to the press.

The late Mr. Ware was never served any warning letter throughout the seven years he served the LACC.

A colleague of the deceased, who asked for anonymity out of fear of losing his job, disclosed that following his dismissal, the late Ware filed a complaint with the Ministry of Labor. But lawyers representing the commission repeatedly pleaded for time.

Said the source: “They asked that the case be postponed because in law when such a thing happen it usually means that a party is seeking common ground. But every time we appeared they had to ask for time which is usually granted by the labor court.”

Our source continued: “Since he was dismissed he had been confused moving from one place to another hoping that the LACC would reconsider its decision but nothing materialized until he died.

“As I speak to you, I am in shock, but we will not rest until we have justice for his children he left behind.”

A source told FPA that the deceased’s LACC contract was not attested to as mandated by the Labor law.

“The LACC did not allow the Labor ministry to attest the contract signed by deceased which accordingly is unlawful. I came to know him a while so his fight can’t go in vain.

All we need now is a befitting burial and a letter of administration to be done so the family can benefit from his hard-earned gain.”

The case at the Labor ministry is still at conference level and might probably be sent to the National Labor Court.

This is not the first time that Cllr. Verdier and the LACC have been dogged with controversy over leaks.

In May 2015, the LACC boss was involved in a heated series of exchanges with the editor/publisher of FrontPageAfrica regarding a leaked report of the LACC which recommended the prosecution of former Managing Director of the National Port of Authority (NPA) Matilda Parker for her alleged involvement in US$800,000 ‘scandal’ at the port.

The LACC Chair went as far as to suggest that someone within his organization had leaked the report to FrontPageAfrica and even spend US$10,000 of taxpayers money to investigate and question staffers over the leaked report.

The effort led to a number of dismissals within the LACC, including some employees who were miles away from the office of the auditors who prepared the report.

But the latest saga came at a sad time for one family.

On Monday, Rita Johnson-Ware, the wife of the deceased, expressed disappointment over the death of her husband.

She disclosed that her husband came down with pressure up after which he was taken to the E.L.W.A hospital where he died.

“We have two kids together and three on his own. We got married in November 2016, this November supposed to make us one year.”

On 25 June 2015, Liberian President Sirleaf signed into law the Decent Work Bill, the country’s first labor law since the 1950s.

The act marks the second time that the African country becomes a forerunner in promoting ILO standards.

In June 2006, Liberia became the first country in the world to ratify the ILO’s Maritime Labour Convention.

Now it has adopted the first labor law in the world that refers to the ILO’s Decent Work Agenda directly in its title.

Liberia’s commitment to this agenda goes well beyond the title of the new law.

The latter includes a clear statement of its purposes, and the very first is helping to promote decent work in Liberia. Among others, this means an environment that helps to create quality jobs, and allows all workers to exercise their rights at work.

The new law is also intended to promote economic development and growth, including by reducing obstacles to efficient business competition.

These key policy objectives can be traced to Liberia’s first Poverty Reduction Strategy, which committed to revising the old labor law to make it more responsive to the needs of employees, employers and investors, while also promoting fundamental human rights appropriate for Liberia.

The new law explicitly promotes fundamental rights at work, including freedom of association and the right to bargain collectively; the right not to be subject to forced or compulsory labor; the right to equality at work, and to equal working conditions regardless of gender or other irrelevant criteria; and the right not to be subject to the worst forms of child labor.

The law also seeks to implement certain fundamental rights found in Liberia’s Constitution.

The rights of employers and workers and their organizations will be protected through new institutions and processes that are established by the new law.

Meanwhile the Chairperson of the LACC Cllr. James Verdier disclosed that the deceased contract was terminated a year ago.

“I don’t know whether his contract was attested to, because the Labor Ministry don’t have to attest to any contract, what that has to do with Labor Ministry to attest with the contract,

“He had an employment contract with LACC and we terminated the contract because of integrity, and not productive.”

Cllr. Verdier confirmed that the commission is in the know of the complaint but refused to disclose their response to the ministry.

“That case is still in court, and has been in court for the past 7 months, we took the stand to terminate his contract because he wasn’t productive to the commission.

He continued: “You expect me to discuss our response with you, off head, no- that is a legal document and I can’t talk about that, all I can say he claimed wrongful death and we counter it, we dismiss it because lack of productivity.

“We felt he wasn’t productive on the job, we didn’t think he was adding value to the contract.”

The LACC chairperson refuted rumors that the deceased was dismissed on suspicion that he leaked information to the press.

“How can we be responsible for somebody dying when the person had stroke, we went and planted something in him to have the stroke? We only acted as administrator meaning we are to look at the good of the institution and he was one of those who weren’t productive.”

Said Verdier: “That is false, his dismissal had nothing to do with him leaking information to the press. We don’t even know that he had links with the press, he had been with the commission and hasn’t investigated more than three cases.”

“As I said we found him unproductive and ineffective so we terminated the contract.” The LACC boss declined when asked to name some of the cases investigated by the deceased.

“He was employed with LACC when he had the stroke”, a comment which the wife of the deceased rebutted.