On Allegation Of Extorting Money From Union: Ex. Trade Director Challenges Min. Bangalu

By Alva M. Wolokolie

The suspended Director of Trade Union Affairs at the Ministry of Labor, Ms. Hannah Zoe Macaulay, has strongly expressed her dissatisfaction over the manner and form in which Minister J. Cole Bangalu suspended her from the job for the period of one month without pay.

Ms. Macaulay has frowned on the false media impression sent out by J. Cole Bangalu to the world against her entire family and said the criminal charges of constant habit of extortion of money from Unions with the intent to issue certificates of recognition should not be taken likely.

Mr. Bangalu at a news conference last month told Journalists that the Ministry has taken administrative action against Director Macaulay on allegation of extorting money from Unions with the intent to issue certificates to the Lofa County Motor Cycle Union.

Reacting to a news story published against her character in the Thursday June 13, 2013, edition of the INQUIRER newspaper, Ms. Macaulay has unconditionally challenged Mr. Bangalu and called on the Ministry of Labor to conduct a forensic investigation with what-so-ever Union in the Ministry’s ledger she alleged has her signature on.

Speaking in an exclusive interview during the weekend as it relates to the media publication and her wrongly suspension and termination of services at the Ministry, Macaulay described Bangalu’s behavior as a mere bluff calculated against her with a personal motive.

“I challenge Mr. Bangalu to produce any evidence (document, video, photo or audio) to prove that I admitted to the effect of extortion of money in the Acting Minister’s office where I strongly believe it was not only the two of us,” Macaulay said.

Commenting on the Lofa County Motorcycle Union saga, Macaulay clarified that Madam Estella G. K. Calvins wrote the Ministry of Labour on the 18th of April, 2013 requesting for certification and accreditation as a Trade Union Organization, which copy was sent to the former Assistant Minister for Trade Union Affairs, Micheal B. Wah by Neto Zarzar Liehe who was Acting Minister at the time with a specific instruction “This process is under review therefore let’s put this in file” and wish we did as was instructed.

Again, on the same date, she said a memorandum was written by Atty. Bornor M. Varmah, Special Assistant to the Minister/ addressed to Michael B. Wah who was then her immediate boss and such memorandum was by the directive of Acting Minister Neto Z. Liehe, suspending the legitimizing of Trade Union Organizations in Liberia, which she strongly believed that Bangalu was informed since indeed he was in charge of Administration (Deputy Ministry for Administration).

In compliance with section 4100 and 41001 of the Labour practice laws of Liberia, coupled with regulation No 5 (1983) of the Ministry of Labour, Ms. Macaulay narrated that the Bureau of Trade Union Affairs states that, in furtherance of the measures that “Trade Union seeking recognition from the Ministry of Labour should furnish the Trade Union’s Office with the following: constitution, structure of leadership/organization, location of institution Address/Account Statement, List of Membership etc.

“In respect to the proposed Lofa County Motorcyc1e Union, the letter of request did not have the above mentioned documents attached. Yet, Hon. Bangalu who claims he served the Trade Union Affairs as Assistant Minister for more than six (6) years, knowing the process/procedure , and a copy of the directive mentioned above under the signature of Atty. Bornor M. Varmah and by directive of Acting Minister, Hon. Neto Zaezar Liehe as well as being well acknowledged that the Lofa County Motorcycle Union’s letter of request did not have the required documents attached to be certificated.

Being informed and acknowledgeable of the Labour policies and laws of Liberia, coupled with experience, and job discretion and the directive of the Acting Minister, Liehe, Maccaulay explained that she requested from Mr. Bangalu a MOU nullifying or revoking the communication from Minister Neto Zarzar Liehe dated April 18, 2013 suspending the certification of Trade Union Organizations.

She said Bangalu being preconceived, refused to write the revocation of the Minister’s order but, ordered her secretary to print a certificate for her signature which she (Macaulay) also refused on grounds that the wordings of the certificate was not the wordings of Trade Union Organization certificates issued by the Ministry of Labor (Division of Trade Union) and also the directive given by the Acting Minister, Neto Zarzar Liehe was still being enforced.

With reference to receiving money (US$50.00) from the Mino River Union for the issuance of a Union Certificate, the suspended Director said the information is misleading, fabricated, manufactured and calculated to besmear, tint and or tarnish her crystal clear reputation that was built and continue to build.

“I challenge Hon. Bangalu to produce anybody to prove that I received any money from any of the Trade Unions in Liberia that I have appended my signature to their certificates. I will be willing to go to court since that is a criminal offence under the Liberian criminal laws, let the public know that the Mino River Transport Union which Hon. Bangalu is referring to as ‘Mino River Union’ was not certificated by me and the records are there in the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of National Security for your reference,” she stated.