What’s The Point? LFA Says It Owes For Three Not Four Months


Monrovia – The Liberia Football Association (LFA) has clarified that it doesn’t owe employees four months salaries.

Report by: Danesius Marteh, [email protected]

FrontPageAfrica (FPA) reported in its July 15, 2016 edition that a bad July 26 looms at the LFA because the employees were owed for April, May, June and July.

But appearing on Weekend Sports on Fabric 101.FM on July 16, LFA treasurer Jallah D. Corvah said the employees are owed for three months.

 “We owed the employees for April, May and June. As I speak, text messages have been sent to their phones that their salaries are available. We’ve been having some technical problems with the FAP [financial assistance program] from FIFA,” said Corvah. 

Salary arrears have been one of the perennial problems at the LFA since Musa Hassan Bility became President on March 20, 2010. Jallah confirmed that the employees will be paid for two months.

 “We’ve just received our quarterly FAP. I just left GT Bank and all the employees will be paid for two months. At the end of July, we’ll pay the remaining two months,” added Corvah.

Appearing on the same program on July 9, Corvah blamed FIFA for slowly processing their grant, thus reading Bility’s script from more than three years ago.

At a news conference on April 17, 2013, Bility blamed FIFA for owing employees for almost three months.

Bility said FIFA was delaying to transfer the balance of its FAP of US$250,000 in time to their accounts.

Following the approval of the new “Forward” Development Program Regulations by FIFA Council on May 9, 2016, the FAP was increased to US$500,000 and members will be entitled to the balance of the funds already committed for the financial year ending on December 31, 2016.

In December 2014, the employees were owed for October, November and

December before they were paid just in time for Christmas plus a bag of rice for two persons.

The LFA receives subsidies from the government but FIFA FAP of US$250,000 caters for administrative costs, including salaries.

And its gross monthly wage bill of US$14,960 (US$14,365 after taxes) leaves one to wonder why the employees go months without pay. 

Is it the lack of priority and or mismanagement that has seen employees repeatedly owed for months?

The LFA lavishly spent LD$2 million (about US$20,833) on an April 14, 2014 inauguration of Bility, Vice Presidents Musa Shannon and Cassell Kuoh and 12 Executive Committee members (ECM) at the old Executive Mansion.

It, in turn, paid another LD$2 million to ECM Rochell Woodson as a refund for underwriting the cost of hosting Gambia in the first leg of the African under-20 qualifiers on April 6, 2014 in Monrovia.

FPA understood that those payments were made from a budgetary support of L$6 million and US$85,000 from the government.

The employees’ arrears coincided with an April 30, 2014 statement from the Liberia Football Referees Association (LIFRA) that the LFA had a US$10,000 debt covering indemnities and there were plans to boycott the national third division play-offs. 

It has been confirmed that the LFA paid more than US$8,000 each as honorarium to 18 ECMs for four years. 

At a Sports Writers Association of Liberia (SWAL) debate on March 13, 2014 ahead of the Buchanan congress, ECMs seeking reelection justified the payment while those, like LISCR FC President Mustapha Raji and Wilmot Smith, pledged to wave their honorariums.

The LFA denied making a payment of US$576,000 when the news was first reported by FPA in April 2010.

Three years ago, the LFA bizarrely disclosed that employees should be prepared to work for months without pay.

 “I think your statement [question] to the LFA that this thing [salary] is perennial, we are very proud of what we have done in this building. And people like you don’t see that way but that’s fine. We have taken the salary of LFA from L$2,100 where people were being paid US$8 and US$12.

 “Today, we beat the minimum wage [of US$186] in the republic of Liberia. It comes with strains. We are constrained, not only to take-up our responsibility as Liberia Football Association, but we take-up the responsibility of the government of the republic of Liberia—your government.

 “And therefore those burdens that are created upon us, these are the sacrifices that we all make. We don’t have solutions for it now. As long as we have a situation where we are taking the burden of the national team [and] we are taking burdens that we are not supposed to take, we will have this [problem].

 “We have employees that bear with us; they understand because when we have money, we have done it once and we can do it again, when we have money sometimes we pay them in advance.

“So your use of the word is correct. It is perennial; it will always be there. I have no remedy for it now under the condition that we are in. And they must expect to be owed more and more,” Bility told a news conference on May 15, 2013.

They were owed for December 2013 and March, April, May and June 2014 before they were paid at the end of June after FIFA wired US$125,000 to the FA’s International Bank account for two quarters: April to June and July to September 2014 respectively.

At a senior staff meeting on June 6, 2014, Bility announced a 40-percent salary deduction, which became effective on July 1, 2014.

But in a telephone conversation with our reporter, Bility confirmed a pay cut of 30-percent, which he said would have affected 17 of the 67 employees, who are regarded as senior staff.

FPA, however, understood from a source, who attended the meeting that the deduction affected all employees who earn above US$150 per month. 

It was still not clear why a pay cut was announced when the FAP has never been reduced.

When the announcement was made, the employees were owed for April and May 2014.

In March 2013, the LFA spent at least US$7,000 during the passing from labor to rest of former Liberia international Frank Jean Waka Seator while the workers were owed for two months.

Interestingly, the Liberia Maritime Authority (LMA) where Seator worked as director of its beach and waterway projects contributed only US$2,000.

What has Bility done?

Bility has been LFA President since March 27, 2010 but has had little to show for a regime that has been hugely favoured by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf-led government.

Although he promised to commercialize football, government has annually budgeted US$500,000 to the national teams while state-owned enterprises and autonomous agencies, like the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) and Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), have funded international matches.  

During a 2014 World Cup qualifier in Dakar, Senegal on June 2, 2012, NOCAL contributed US$150,000 to the LFA in addition to a Cellcom sponsorship believed to be US$60,000 per game. 

NOCAL, CBL, National Social Security and Welfare Corporation, Liberia Petroleum Refining Company, National Port Authority, Liberian Business Association and Liberia Marketing Association (LMA), helped to raise more than US$1 million for an Edwin Snowe-led mobilization committee for a 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in which Liberia lost 6-1 to Nigeria in Calabar on October 13, 2012.

Cellcom remains the official sponsor of the national league but the LFA have made clubs to not feel the impact of such an investment.

Nimba United are yet to be paid US$10,000 for finishing as runners-up during the 2010/2011 season and LISCR are yet to receive an official report on how their US$20,000 prize money was spent during a CAF Champions’ League tie with Cameroon’s Union Douala in February and March 2013.

Corvah disputed more than 90-percent of the information contained in the previous article, which we have largely repeated.

Management will graciously welcome a rejoinder and give it the same prominence it did with the first publication.