Liberia: Ruling CDC ‘Exploiting’ Vetting Process For Civil Service Jobs

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Report by Alpha Daffae Senkpeni, [email protected]

Monrovia – The Coalition for Democratic Change appears to be on a trajectory of manipulating Liberia’s public sector, planting seeds to control the entire public sector.

It’s obvious the ruling party is solidifying its grip on power by installing partisans across every sector of government, amid raising eyebrows over blatant violations of regulations governing the recruitment process of civil servants by the Civil Service Agency (CSA).

A recent leaked communication recommending a CDC partisan for a position that requires thorough vetting by CSA has resurfaced, trending on social media.

The recent leaked letter renews concerns about previous moves by the party’s chairman Mulbah Morlu, who earlier made several recommendations for his partisans to be given jobs regardless their level of qualification or the pressure it might exert on the budget of the employing entity.

Lists of partisans were sent to the Liberia Petroleum and Refinery Company, Liberia Revenue Authority, Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation and several other ministries and agencies demanding the employment of partisans.

In the list sent to the LWSC, the party chairman recommended 17 consultants, including  a monitoring manager, transportation manager, deputy transport manager, finance manager, cost accountant, administrative accountant, logistics manager, commercial manager, monitoring and evaluation, procurement analyst and finance manager.

Morlu declined on several occasions to respond to query from FrontPage Africa about the lists.

But it appears the party is looking to deliberately  increase government’s wage bill, evident by the appropriation in the draft 2018/2019 fiscal budget which shows that 65% would be spend on salaries and recurrent expenditures if approved by the Legislature.

On the other hand, these lists of recommendations by the CDC have threatened the positions of existing civil servants.

Less than a month ago, the comptroller of the Monrovia Consolidated School System was instructed to step aside from her position, and give way for a staunch CDC partisan.

In the recent letter purportedly addressed to Rev. Reginald M. Wade, acting director of the CSA, Morlu recommended Bonis D. Barlea, a member of the CDC to be preferred as the CSA’s payroll director.

“He has been thorough vetted and have emerged as qualified and eager to contribute to the progressive agenda of the President,” reads the letter allegedly signed by the CDC chairman.

It further demanded the “unhindered cooperation” of the acting CSA boss to enhance the Pro-Poor agenda of President George Weah by favoring partisans of the ruling party.

Moses Owen Brown, public relations officer of the CSA in response to inquiry by FPA into the series of recommendations by the party to the agency, said there would be vacancy created after the retirement of some civil servants that have reached retirement age.

He said these positions would be occupied by some of the recommendations by the CDC chairman.

He said although recommendations are made, the CSA conducts vetting for vacancy at a specific government ministry or agency and or consider special approach within the legal framework of its recruitment process.

“So if there’s a vacancy there, it means the agency will alert the Civil service and say ‘we have vacancy in this area’…, then the CSA will advertised the position and people will apply and they will sit the test and interview but if they already have a staff in the area and want to transfer to that position then they will refer that staff to us and then we will request the staff credential to know their qualification.”

Brown denied disruption of the existing CSA recruitment protocol by the ruling party, saying the party is making recommendations, “so if he (Morlu) was saying put this person there or this person must get the job then it doesn’t work like that.”

“Let’s consider it as recommendation and the staff got to meet the prerequisite, the requirements and all the condition precedents before they can get the job,” he said.

“The CSA sees such letter by the CDC party chair as a recommendation, and two things can happen – we go through the process if there’s a vacancy available for the particular job and we advertise it and other people will apply and if the person is qualified, they’ll get the job, that’s how it works.”

Despite paying deaf ears to the plethora of criticisms, the move by the ruling party contradicts basic standards for recruitment by the CSA.

But some of the partisans insist that the ruling establishment is determined to avoid the mistakes of the former ruling Unity Party, by ensuring all of its members are accommodated with public sector jobs.

However, the concerns are perceptible and points to looming pressure on the already ‘broke’ government which has its eyes on prioritizing infrastructure development in the next fiscal budget.

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