Ellen Dismisses 10 Ebola Absentee Officials…Takes Action Against Public Works Minister, Other On Assets Issue

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has dismissed 10 of her officials for failure to return home following her directive regarding restrictions on travel of government officials, including their return within a week for those who were out of the country without an excuse.

According to an Executive Mansion release, those dismissed include Dr. Othello Gongar, Commissioner, Governance Commission, Ms. Kona Beysolow, Commissioner, Public Procurement and Concessions Commission, Cllr. Wheatonia Dixon-Barnes, Deputy Minister for Administration and Public Safety, Ministry of Justice, Ms. Victoria Sherman-Lang, Deputy Minister for Economic Affairs, Ministry of Justice and Mr. Hilary Sirleaf-Siakor, Assistant Minister for Prisons, Ministry of Justice.

Others are Ms. ArdiaKaikai, Assistant Minister for Afro-Asian Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms. LaurettaReffell, Assistant Minister for Administration, Ministry of Public Works, Mr. James H.R. Cooper, Assistant Minister for Administration, Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, Ms. MeapehGono-Glay, Assistant Minister for Administration, Ministry of Labor; and Mr. Ebenizar Z. Gibson, Assistant Minister for Trade Union, Ministry of Labor.

President Sirleaf dismissed the ten government officials with immediate effect and also instituted several measures on officials of various agencies, commissions, and parastatals not subject to presidential travel approval for showing insensitivity to our national tragedy and disregard for authority.

Members of various Boards not subjected to direct Presidential travel approval who are to forfeit salaries, compensation, benefits and Board fees until they return home are Ms. Jackie Khoury, Member of the Board of Directors, NOCAL, Ms. Massa Roberts, Member, Monrovia City Council, Mr. James P. Cooper, Member of the Board, Liberia Telecommunications Corporation, Ms. Miata Beysolow, Chairman of the Board, National Social Security and Welfare Corporation; and Mr. James Thompson, Member of the Board, Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation

Junior officials who are also not subject to Presidential approval will also forfeit all compensation and benefits until they return home to join in the fight against the Ebola virus disease and they include Ms. Christine Norman, Mayor, Bensonville City, Montserrado County, Mrs. Ade Jones Captan, Commissioner, Congo Town, Montserrado County, Ms. Alexine Howard, Commissioner, Caldwell, Montserrado County, Ms. Annie Dillon, Commissioner Dixville, Montserrado County, Mr. Amos Forkay, Commissioner, Bolloh District, Grand Kru County, Mr. J. KaydioWreh, District Superintendent, Grand Kru County, Mr. Moses O. Z. Reeves, District Superintendent, Rivercess County; and Mr. Nathaniel During, District Commissioner, Rivercess County

Meanwhile, the senior and junior government officials, including those from various agencies, commissions, and parastatals who have claimed serious, sometime, life-threatening medical conditions, they will be examined on a case by case basis.

In another development, in accordance with an updated report received from the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission on September 5, also posted on its website, President Sirleaf has suspended on the job for one month three eligible officials who have not declared or re-declared their income, assets, and liabilities.

They are Dr. Antoinette Weeks, Minister of Public Works, Mr. Claude Langley, Deputy Minister for Technical Services, Ministry of Public Works; and Mr. Francis Okai, District Commissioner, Margibi County.

They are to forfeit their salaries and have been directed to file their income, assets, and liabilities within one week.

The Executive Mansion release also said Part X-10.1 of the National Code of Conduct Act states: “Every Public Official and Employee of Government involved in making decisions affecting contracting, tendering or procurement, and issuance of licenses of various types shall sign performance or financial bonds and shall in addition declare his or her income, assets and liabilities prior to taking office and thereafter at the end of every three years; on promotion or progression from one level to another; upon transfer to another public office; and upon retirement or resignation.”

A total of 321 government officials who are eligible under the Code of Conduct Act have declared or re-declared their income, assets and liabilities.

Additionally, those government officials suspended earlier and have declared or re-declared their assets in categories B and C, are to provide to the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs evidence of payments into government revenue their fines and penalties as directed by the Liberian President. Failure to do so, within a week, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning will be authorized to automatically deduct two months’ salary.