Liberia: Liberia Medicines & Health Products Regulatory Authority Using Three Payrolls To Cover ‘Shady’ Salaries For Top Staff
Monrovia – Financial documents obtained by FrontPage Africa show that the Liberia Medicines & Health Products Regulatory Authority or LMHRA is allegedly using three different payrolls to pay its top staff.
The documents also show that the entity has been employing a subtle but rather “cunning way of disbursing incentives to some of its top staff”.
Already, the Liberian government is struggling to deal with a very bloated payroll and FPA has gathered that the number of all government employees has reached 90,000. This means a huge percentage of the national budget is spent on government employees’ salaries.
FPA has obtained documents from the LMHRA a month ago, verified all the details and sought responses from the management team of LMHRA but to no avail.
A FPA reporter planned an interview with the agency seeking response to the inquiry but all the top staff refused to respond to all the questions.
The documents show that Antoinette N. Mulbah, who is the Administrative Officer for Political Affairs at the agency, earns US$1,500 while Mr. David Sumo, the Managing Director of LMHRA, makes a monthly salary of US$1,458.
Some insiders at the agency say Madam Mulbah has a higher salary than her boss Mr. Sumo based on the recommendation of the ruling party, the Coalition for Democratic Change.
However, documents show that there are three different payrolls at the entity – one for salaries, the other for incentives and another shows alleged bankrolling of top officials’ incentives.
The documents also show that LMHRA has two bank accounts just like several other government’s entities, but what is controversial about the entity’s financial dealings is the exclusive disbursement of incentives to top officials from the GT Bank account. The account pays incentives to only top officials of the agency while vast majority wait for their salary from the Ecobank account.
Meanwhile, at Ecobank the LMHRA has a general account which is used to pay all the employees – from top bosses to janitor – while at the GT Bank account, it is used to pay only incentives to top officials of the entity.
Insiders say the payment of staff is based on their association with top staffers.
However, the 2018/2018 National Budget shows that the US$758,253 captured a recurrent expenditure of LMHRA, which covers the GT Bank account that settles its top staff account.
While some of the employees decry the misappropriation of funds, others are benefiting.
Several staffs of the LMHRA have benefited from the alleged controversial incentives. They are: Joseph M. Redd, Sr. who receives US$1657.86 (Account Number 207 700 203 210), Del T. Nagbe, Sr. earns US$1657.86 (Account Number 201 107 778 2590); and Alexander E. George gets a monthly incentive of US$1657.86 (Account Number – 203 300 9632 590).
Meanwhile, the LMHRA has ignored all inquiries from FPA despite a month-long inquiry including calls and emails requesting response.
Despite concerns about alleged misappropriating of funds, LMHRA has been in the public announcing its source of incomes to generate incomes for the institution.
LMHRA posted on Facebook: “The general public is hereby informed that all persons/organizations engaged in the importation of medicines and health products into Liberia, should first obtain a license from the Liberia Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Authority (LMHRA) before getting involved with said activity.
“This is in line with Part V, Section 2 of the 2010 Act that established the LMHRA. As of September 1, 2018, any persons/organizations importing medicines or health products into Liberia without a license from the Regulatory Authority (LMHRA) will pay a prescribed fine into the Liberian Government Revenue,” the LMRHA stated on its Facebook page in 2018.
The Liberia Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Authority (LMHRA) exists to implement the provisions of the LMHRA Act by employing good Regulatory Practices to ensure that medicines and health products used in Liberia conform to the highest standards of quality safety and efficacy. This Act establishes the Liberia Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Authority so as to ensure the quality, safety and efficacy of medicines and health products (as defined) used in the Republic of Liberia. “Medicine” and “health products” shall include remedies for animals.