Five Suspended, Others Relieved from Positions At Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency
Monrovia – Since the inception of the CDC-led government, news of tension at various government ministries and agencies have taken its fair share in the media.
Report by Willie N. Tokpah, [email protected]
At the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA), there is a brewing tension over the suspension and dismissal of several employees.
Sebastian A. Gibson, who is heading the agency thus far, has been accused by some employees for alleged witch-hunt.
The LDEA staffs who spoke in confidence to FrontPage Africa said the new leadership is witch-hunting several of those who are viewed to have had a closed relationship with the past administration, which was headed by Anthony Souh.
They claim to be antagonized and are either being suspended or are ask to relinquish their post.
Our source alleged that Mr. Gibson, who is acting head of the agency and is officially the Deputy Director for Administration, had complained of being marginalized by the Souh’s administration who rather favored a selected few.
Some employees now claim that it’s payback time for him.
“The new Deputy Director for Administration is witch hunting some of us here, because of our relationship we had with the former Director General. We can hear him saying that people here supported the former boss to marginalized him, so he will deal with all those closed to the former boss,” our source, who prefer anonymity, said.
But Michael W. Jipply, a spokesperson for the DEA, termed claimed that the allegations are untrue.
Another source, who spoke with FrontPage Wednesday, noted that the new administration has relieved the human resource personnel, a female, from her post while five others from the finance department have been suspended for time in definite.
At the same time, some supervisors are being transferred to the hinterland without specific assignments and replaced with closed associates of Director Gibson.
However, Jipply, while rebutting the allegation, said there were several reshuffles carried out at the agency following the appointment of Director Gibson.
As part of the reshuffle, he confirmed that the human resource personnel was relieved from her post and is awaiting reassignment.
“One thing I want you understand is that, whenever government comes in, there must be changes and our Acting Director General has deemed it in his own wisdom that there was a need for the HR to be replaced,” Jipply averred.
However, he said the five persons from the finance section were suspended following an investigation that flagged their names in alleged financial malpractice.
“Of course, some group of people from the finance section has been suspended, pending an audit according to our Director for Administration and Acting Director General. In fact, it’s the entire finance team,” Jipply said.
“Upon taking over, it was discovered that there were some financial improprieties when it comes to the dispense of their duties on financial issues and it is based on that the administration has taken the decision to have them suspended.”
Whether their involvement is true or not, the LDEA looks forward to outcome from an investigation surrounding its financials alleged malpractice.
He indicated that the accused were linked to over-flooding the payroll with ghost names along with other financial transaction tantamount to corruption.
“There has been an imminent situation of such when it comes to the payroll being crowded up with some discrepancies,” he said.
He could not state which period the audit covered, but said it is dated as far back as during Souh’s administration.
Jipply, at the same time, revealed that those suspended from the financial section were replaced following the outcome of their investigation.
At the same time, the DEA spokesperson confirmed information about a major reshuffle, but attributed it to the agency’s operational policy.
“Yes, it is true that the administrations has made some significant changes within administration, but let’s just accept it that it’s a normal thing in government,” he said, adding that the “my director’s action in his own wisdom will not take any decision outside the law. My director is acting in consonant with our mandate.”