Mr. Augustine A. Allieu, former National Director of SOS Children’s Villages in Liberia, has complained SOS Management for ‘wrongful dismissal’
Mr. Augustine A. Allieu, the former National Director of SOS Children’s Villages in Liberia, has filed a formal complaint before the Minister of Labor, Cllr. Charles H. Gibson, of wrongful dismissal by the management of SOS Children’s Villages in Liberia.
In Mr. Allieu’s complaint, which was filed by his lawyers on September 9, 2022, the SOS’ former national director said that he was “unjustly terminated on April 12, 2022 without regards to Chapter 14 of the Decent Work Act”. The Sierra Leonean national and expatriate was hired on July 10, 2017.
SOS’ termination of Allieu’s services was based on accusations of “administrative and financial malpractices” that grew out of an internal audit it claimed implicated the former national director, including findings it allegedly generated from a staff investigative survey.
Mr. Allieu’s labor complaint termed the allegations as “unsubstantiated” and “unfounded” part of which was based on “staff perception”.
According to the complaint, “The audit report, among other things claimed that Allieu approved and utilized salary loans and salary advance without approval and contrary to policy, which is not true. It also accused him of committing the crime of using counterfeit banknote(s), something they failed to report to the government authorities.” Allieu’s lawyers further alleged that the entire audit process and content was manipulated to arrive at the conclusion to justify their client’s dismissal and the motive was solely because some of the audit team members had planned to present a false image of him and the national association (SOS Liberia) so that when he is relieved of his position they can take over. One of the audit team members and conductor of the staff perception survey, currently serves in his position as acting national director.”
According to Mr. Allieu’s lawyers, the claims of the audit were rebuffed by their client in a nine-page response, but strangely the receiving authority based in Dakar, Senegal, where the audit team is based at the SOS Regional Office, refused to believe his side and instead suspended him from work. The suspension culminated into a termination letter dated April 12, 2022”. His legal team further said the draft audit report shared for their client’s response, which was used as one of the basis to terminate his services, was much different from the one that was finally published and used for his dismissal.
According to the SOS’ former national director’s legal team, when the plotters found that their claims against their client, in the audit report, were not strong to merit termination, “they launched a factitious post-audit internal investigation which outcome was pre-determined.” It was in this other audit and or “purported staff perception survey,” that Mr. Allieu, who was no longer around to respond to, was accused of “sexual harassment, intimidation, bullying and threats against some of his staff.”
His lawyers to Labor Minister Gibson: “The investigation, referenced here, did not accord him due process and fairness, as he was never given the opportunity to respond to the opinions of the carefully selected group of staff spoken to, of which said outcome cannot constitute automatic guilt. Without the result of a hearing judgment on criminal or serious allegations, no one should be condemned. This is a violation of his constitutional rights.”
Among other things, Mr. Allieu’s lawyers said that their client’s accusers’ prejudice can also be seen from the use of an over four-year-old “unsubstantiated sexual harassment allegation to make a case for dismissal.”
As all of the auditing dramas were going on at SOS, Mr. Allieu was also battling a false rape allegation that had been lodged against him with the Liberia National Police (LNP), by a former SOS child, Saye Maye Cole, and the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection on April 11, 2022.
“The intention of the rape allegation was to tie Mr. Allieu up in the criminal justice system so that he does not have the chance or time to bring an unfair dismissal complaint against SOS,” his lawyers also argued. They further informed Minister Gibson that their client had worked for SOS since 2017 and not once was he given any warning letter; adding: “Mr. Allieu came to SOS Liberia with a clean record of excellence from the multiple international jobs in which he served at senior levels.”
Meanwhile, on September 1, 2022, the LNP, through its Women and Children Protection Section released their report on the rape allegations against Mr. Allieu. After six months of thorough investigation into the matter, the police exonerated him from the allegation of rape levied against him due to lack of evidence.
Background to Rape Allegation
One April 12, 2022, Saye-Maye Cole, a former SOS Children’s Village Child, reported to the Women and Children Protection Section of the LNP that Prosper Mamadou Ndione, Acting National Director of SOS Children’s Village Liberia, sent him an email on April 11, 2022 that a rape allegation had been reported against a senior Liberian staff and this person was later found to be Mr. Augustine A. K. Allieu.
According to the Police, Ndione told them that during investigation that the rape victim had “confessed to him that she had been abused by the former Director of SOS.”