No Second Chance for Elfreida Tamba at Revenue Authority; Central Bank Weeks ‘Under Pressure to Resign’

Commissioner Elfreida Tamba ended her tenure on June 30, 2018


Monrovia – The Commissioner General of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), Elfreida Tamba, ended her first tenure as head of the government’s revenue arm on June 30 and there’s no sign of her reappointment.

Report by Lennart Dodoo, [email protected]

Madam Tamba’s last days were marred by simultaneous protests in support and against her reinstatement.

She was the first to head the Revenue Authority since its establishment in July 2014 through an Act of the Legislature.

Prior to becoming a full fledged autonomous agency, the government’s tax collection arm operated under the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (then Ministry of Finance) as the Tax Division.

She completes her tenure celebrating an achievement of exceeding revenue target for the month of May by US$6.8 million.

Projected collection for the month of May was set at US$34.68m, but the actual collection for the month rose to US$41.48 million.

The total revenue outturn for May included US$5.73m Direct Transfer Payment in transit to the Tax Administration System.

The total revenue outturn for the month represents 100 percent domestic revenue, which means the amount was collected in Liberia with no external resources.

In terms of administrative or operational departments, Domestic Tax Department contributed 53 percent, while Customs Department contributed 47 percent of the total May outturn.

As per the year to date performance (July 2017-May 2018), the LRA has collected a total of US$428.22m. However, of the total outturn, US$11.344 million (from the World Bank IDA) and US$3.193 million (from the LPRC Road Funds) were obligations for last fiscal year (FY16/17) but actualized in the current fiscal year (FY17/18).

Therefore, the actual current outturn year to date is US$413.68 million. This current outturn of US$413.68 is against a set target of US$404.49m, registering an increase of US$9.190 million or 2 percent.

Despite her remarkable achievements, there’s no sign of Madam Tamba’s reappointment and Executive Mansion sources have confided to FrontPageAfrica that the President is harkening to protests calling him not to give her a second chance.

Bad blood with CDC

Madam Tamba reportedly turned down a list of individuals submitted to the LRA by the Chairman of the ruling party, Mulbah Morlue for employment. The lists included positions such as Manager, Assistant Commissioner for Micro, Small and Medium Tax, Manager for Medium Tax Enforcement, Assistant Commissioner for Compliance, Assistant Commissioner for Urban and Rural Ports, Assistant Commissioner for Human Resources Unit, Senior Auditor for Post Clearance Unit, Custom Officer and Accountants.

FrontPageAfrica’s investigation found that Madam Tamba’s refusal to honor the names forwarded for these positions placed her in a tight position with the ruling establishment, with some party stalwarts labeling her as a defiant, thereby leading to the protest for her removal from the LRA.

However, sources at the LRA informed FPA that the positions sought by the ruling party are professional and technical positions that are awarded only on merit basis.

“Holders of most of these positions applied for them. They were vetted and were appointment on the fact that they proved capable of serving in those positions. These are very critical and technical positions and they are never out for political appointments. There’s no way Commissioner Tamba could have appointed those whose names were on that list. We can’t just dismiss people because the ruling party wants them replaced. It has legal implications,” an LRA source told FPA on the basis of remaining anonymous.

CBL Weeks’ Fate Hangs

FrontPageAfrica has also reliably learnt that the Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia, Milton Weeks, is at the verge of being ousted as he faces a mounting pressure to resign.

Sources both within the Executive Mansion and the Central Bank of Liberia confided to FPA that pressure which is coming from the Executive Mansion is based on Governor Weeks’ alleged delay/refusal to sign documents finalizing using government’s consolidated account as sovereign guarantee for the US$536 million loan from ETON Private Finance.

Weeks was inducted into office in May 2016 and has a five-year term as the Governor of the Central Bank. However, running into early troubles with this administration seems to be prematurely shortening his stay at the CBL.

According to Section 10 of the Act creating the CBL, “The management of the Central Bank of Liberia shall be conducted by an Executive Governor, who shall be Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Central Bank, and a Deputy Governor, who shall serve as the principal assistant to the Executive Governor.

“The Executive Governor and the Deputy Governor shall be appointed by the President for a term of five (5) years each from among individuals of standing or experienced in financial and economic matters, subject to confirmation by the Liberian Senate, on such terms and conditions as may be specified by the Board of Governors. The Executive Governor and the Deputy Governor shall be eligible for reappointment once.”

FPA’s source within the CBL further said, Weeks is also facing blame for the ever-rising foreign exchange rate between the US dollar and the Liberian dollar.

“Some folks close to the President think and have advised the President that the Governor is not doing much to mitigate the economic situation in the country. They’re squarely putting the blame on the CBL,” the source said.