An Open Letter To The Government of Liberia
….Requesting payment in overdue professional fees illegally withheld from me for services rendered the General Auditing Commission (GAC) in 2010 – 2011 In the total amount of US$152,000.
June 20, 2017
H.E. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf
President of Liberia
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Monrovia – Liberia
H.E. Joseph N. Boakai
Vice President& President of the Honorable Liberian Senate
Republic of Liberia
Monrovia – Liberia
Hon, Emmanuel Nuquay & Members
The Honorable House of Representative
The National Legislature
Monrovia – Liberia
Hon Armah Jallah & Members
President Pro Tempore
The Honorable Liberian Senate
Monrovia – Liberia
Requesting Payment In overdue professional fees illegally withheld from me for services rendered the General Auditing Commission (GAC) in 2010 – 2011 In the total amount of US$152,000.00 including the principal amount (US$105,000 – 8,000 PAID BY Mof) of US$97,000.00 plus simple interest of seven percent (7%) for seven (7) years
Please Demolishing The Predatory State
Greetings Madame President and Your Distinguished Excellences:
“Let the elders (officials of government) who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. For the Scriptures says, “you shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain” and the laborer is worthy of his wages”. 1Timothy 5: 7-8
I present you warmest compliments and beg your kind indulgence to once more make my claims/demand for payments due me for services rendered The Government of Liberia through its beneficiary commission, the General Auditing Commission (GAC) and to express my opinion on the seemingly “get-rich-quick” policy of this government to “live in bubbles” and consume the scarce resources of the country on salaries and benefits of members of the establishments, at a time when the entire citizenry of the country continues to get poorer with little or no real assistance from the government or progressive program to alleviate the undue burdens of crippling poverty and crumbling safety nets, if at all they exists – This Is Predatory! The State, Through You, Has Become the Predator, That’s Not Right, It Must Stop, I Beg You!
The GAC Needed A Lawyer
Just as the work of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Liberia (TRC) was concluding in 2009, the GAC announced a program to upgrade the capacity of its staff in certain key professional areas.
It was a competitive bidding process to which I applied and was accepted and granted a contract of engagement for a one year period for a monthly professional fee of US$8,000.00. I faithfully performed the required services for the 12-month duration of the contract, but didn’t get paid.
President Sirleaf blocked/Stopped Payment
I received the first monthly payment from the then Ministry of Finance in April 2011 in the full contract amount of US$8,000.00. There after no further payment was made nor received. I received diverse excuses as I continued to work for the remainder of the 11-month tenure of the contract.
I was told by GAC authorities of numerous excuses from logistics to financial difficulties with the funding from the international partners, etc. They were all invalid excuses I endured till the end of the contract leaving all eleven (11) months fees and benefits unpaid, amounting to US$97,000.00 in arrears.
At the end of the contract I was requested to stay on but I declined because no effort was made to pay me and I was planning to leave the Country because of the near misses and several threats to my life, making my continued presence in Liberia security risk placing me in serious apprehension and fear for my life.
It was not until I left the country before I was told it was President Sirleaf who commandeered that further payments to me be stopped, notwithstanding a professional service contract was effective and still then in existence.
A copy of the Legal Advisor Contract between the General Audit Commission and Jerome Verdier, March 2010 is hereto attached for your ease of reference.
I departed Liberia, August 11, 2011 in flight and secrecy. All pertinent documents in my possession were left behind, which I now consider lost. Notwithstanding, the GAC, Office of The President, UNMIL Human Rights Section, Ministry of Finance, all have copies of respective documents I will reference in this instrument.
The GAC which administered the program was represented by its Deputy Auditor General, Hon Winsley Nankan, who spearheaded recruitment, negotiated contract terms with me and was the same one who proffered excuses for nonpayment and made promises for future payments that never materialized.
UNMIL Intervention, Patience A Virtue n Vain To Government
Unsatisfied, I complained to UNMIL which investigated my claims and authenticated my demands. The UNMIL made a representation to President Sirleaf who promised to have the money paid; and authorized the late Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Minister McClain to write me a letter acknowledging the debt and committing that the amount due me will be paid in the following fiscal season, which promise to date, also, has not materialized.
I maintained contacts with Mr. Nankan regarding my payments constantly, without results to the point he stopped picking up my calls. In the 6 years since I left the country, I waited patiently for my money but my patience was a virtue in vain as I never got paid.
I therefore, make this request to you, Your Excellences, Distinguished Honorable ladies and gentlemen to kindly release to me the full amount of moneys owed me that I have legitimately earned and justly deserved and which is now overdue. Every further delay compounds the interest and increases the burdens on tax payers to meet the conditions of my rightful demand.
I have patiently waited without squabbles and decided to reinstate my demands before the tenure of President Sirleaf expires in the hope that you will see reason to have my long outstanding legitimate small claims disposed of as a matter of human rights and unfinished priority, without a resort to court actions.
Please pay me and kill the predator!
The Predatory State
Am afraid I must agree with one of your own, Honorable Oscar Cooper, who has opined that your salaries and cumulative benefits are too high considering that the quality of life indicators in Liberia are deplorable and that you should consider conservatively reducing the income standards you have set for yourselves, so that you cannot continue to be predators who are taking everything good for themselves while entrenching the vulnerabilities of the poor.
The Government, instead of being the servants of the people, is a predator on the backs of the people. You care only for yourselves, cronies, family members and your lovely homes and extravagant life styles. You work for us; we hired you all; we are your bosses, you are to serve us and not yourselves.
This is not governance, this is thievery, corruption and abject neglect of your sworn obligations to govern well and manage the resources of the state to the benefit of all its citizens. And we have employed you to do just that, but unfortunately, you have failed!
Instead of being servants, you have grown with fat bellies, and lord over us forgetting the days you begged us (the people) for our votes. You have forgotten because you have turned into predators and masters of a kleptocracy that just doesn’t care – where is your god my people! When you consume all of the scare resources on yourselves, how much is there to spread around to nurses, doctors, and teachers, your attendants and staff?
How much can you a lot for development planning when your recurrent cost is as high as eighty percent (80%) of your budget? Because of your demand for cash when your productivity is so dismally low, you shift the tax burdens to poor consumers who experienced an increase in the cost for save drinking water and every other most essential commodity because you have to live a better standard of life than your counterparts in the United States, and make your periodic trips around the world representing us, when you are the party with most benefits.
Your Excellences, Honorable ladies and gentlemen, please am humbly appealing to your humanity, our people are suffering too much, do something about it. Let not Honorable Cooper be the sole voice of conscience in government. You all have a responsibility to us, the people. You work for our good first and yourselves last, that’s how it should be.
That’s how GOD intended it to be, that you will serve HIS people so that they can glorify HIM who is in Heaven but you are suffering HIS people and that is wrong. Am begging you, please a lot of people are sleeping hungry in Liberia these days; children are going to school on empty bellies; women and children are still dying from curable diseases; our education system is crumbling and all you seem to care is about yourselves.
Please undue the heavy burden on our people; I have photos of little children breaking rocks to sell just to eat in today’s Liberia; please do something and stop the overtly conspicuous consumption and priorities the needs of the people, otherwise you become irrelevant to the people and your governance useless unless it benefits the poor.
I am a product of the public-school system in Liberia. Can we return to those days and do better to restore quality and pride to the education and health institutions in Liberia? Have you asked, I am asking with tears running down my cheeks, where is Ellen Mills Scarborough, King Boatswain Elementary, Demonstration Elementary, Tubman High, D Tweh, Monrovia Central High, Old Pa School, everything that was once lofty and good has declined and is crumbling under your very watch and I refused to accept that you cannot do anything about it. There should be 100 Oscar Coopers in Government.
Please search your heart and step up!
I am just a humble servant of the state and a simple, ordinary, Godfearing citizen of higher education, equipped with the tools to fight in protecting my rights. If you can withhold from me for 7 years that which I legitimately worked for and earned through tireless effort to perform and proof myself worthy of my selection, can you imagine the magnitude of what you have been withholding from the ordinary citizen who is poor, uneducated (the majority are) and vulnerable for the past 12 years and more?
Your people have suffered too long, enough!
It’s time to start undoing the heavy burdens of ignorance, disease and poverty and setting our people free by demolishing the predatory state and creating in its stead the service state that works for the people and creates safety nets and preserve the resources for the people and posterity. If you fail, most of you will not get reelected and the anger of the people will chase after you long after you shall have left office.
God Is Watching Us!
“He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” – Micah 6: 8
Jerome J. Verdier, Sr.