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Politics News

Ebola ghost grabs officials – ten sacked, dozens suspended

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has dismissed ten officials of her government, while suspending dozen others for being absent from the Ebola fight.

The President as part of measures to strengthen the government’s fight against the deadly Ebola virus which is ravaging the Mano River sub-region had earlier issued a two week ultimatum to officials who were not on official duties to return home or face dismissals.

As a follow up, over the weekend the Executive Mansion released the names of ten officials whom it said have been dismissed with immediate effect and instituted several measures against officials of various agencies,  commissions, and parastatals not subject to presidential travel approval.

Those dismissed are 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, r. Hilary Sirleaf-Siakor, Assistant Minister for Prisons, Ministry of Justice, Ms. Ardia Kaikai, Assistant Minister for Afro-Asian Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Lauretta Reffell, Assistant Minister for Administration, Ministry of Public Works,  Mr. James H.R. Cooper, Assistant Minister for Administration, Ministry of Post and Telecommunications,Ms. Meapeh Gono-Glay, Assistant Minister for Administration, Ministry of Labor and Mr. Ebenizar Z. Gibson, Assistant Minister for Trade Union, Ministry of Labor.

President Sirleaf said the dismissed officials have shown insensitivity to the current national tragedy and disregard for authority.

Members of the various Boards not subjected to direct Presidential travel approval have also forfeited their salaries, compensation, as well as benefits and Board fees until their return to the country, the Executive Mansion said, naming them as Ms. Jackie Khoury of the Board of Directors of NOCAL, Ms. Massa Roberts of the Monrovia City Council, Mr. James P. Cooper of the Board of the Liberia Telecommunications Corporation, Ms. Miata Beysolow, Chairman of the Board of the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation and Mr. James Thompson of the Board of the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation.

Meanwhile, junior officials not subject to Presidential approval have also forfeited all compensation and benefits until their return to join in the fight against the Ebola virus disease. The Executive Mansion release named them as   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. Kaydio Wreh, District Superintendent, Grand Kru County, Mr. Moses O. Z. Reeves, District Superintendent, Rivercess County and   Mr. Nathaniel During, District Commissioner, Rivercess County.

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The Executive Mansion further noted that for senior and junior government officials, including those from the various agencies, commissions and parastatals claiming serious and life-threatening medical conditions, an examination on a case-by-case basis will be conducted.

In another development, in accordance with an updated report received from the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission on September 5 and posted on its website, President Sirleaf has suspended on the job for one month, three eligible officials for their failure to declare or re-declared their income, assets and liabilities. 

They are to forfeit their salaries and directed to file their income, assets, and liabilities within a week. They include  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.

The Executive Mansion also noted that Part X-10.1 of the National Code of Conduct Act states that “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.

The release additionally indicated that 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, warning that failure to do so within a week, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning will be authorized to deduct their two month salaries.

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