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MOE taken to court for US$4,200.00 salary arrears

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The Ministry of Education (MOE) has been taken to court by the Planning Officer for Gbarpolu County, Emmanuel Kpissay, for US$4,200.00 salary arrears.

Emmanuel had formally complained to the Stipendiary Magistrate of the Monrovia City Court, His Honor J. Kennedy Peabody. The case which had been scheduled for last Wednesday, 13 January was postponed to today, Thursday, 21 January at the Temple of Justice.

In a seven-count complaint to Magistrate Peabody date 8 January 2016 the complainant said he entered into a contract with the Ministry of Education which started from August 1, 2012 to July 31, 2013 to plan educational program for the Gbarpolu County School System; and that on August 2, 2014 the parties agreed to extend the contract for additional 23 months, starting from August 1, 2013 to June 30, 2015, with all provisions of the original contract of August 1, 2012 remain enforced.

Emmanuel said the Ministry of Education hired his services for US$4,200.00 which he executed, but the authorities there are allegedly refusing to pay him the amount. The complainant added that in gross violation of provision of the contract, the MOE for the past 15 months had paid his monthly salaries discounted at ten (10%), amounting to US$6,000.00.

He said besides, the ministry terminated the contract on June 30, 2015 as provided for in the amendment, “but continued to use my services in July including the distribution of textbooks, taking part in its last review of the education sector in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County from July 13 to 17, 2015.”

A letter from Education Minister George Werner to Mr. Emmanuel Kpissay dated June 22, 2015 reads: “We present compliments and wish to have you informed that due to the discontinuation of the donor support, your contract for the position of Planning Officer for Gbarpolu County as at June 30, 2015, has not been renewed.

However, the Ministry advertises vacant positions on its bulletin board and website. Therefore, you are advised to apply for any position of your choice and go through the merit based system for further employment. In furtherance of the above, kindly contact the Ministry for any payment and, or any human resource related issues you may have.”

But Emmanuel maintained that all effort to getting his nine months’ salary arrears, including attempt to meet with Education Minister George Kronnsanyon Werner on the matter has failed.

In another document dated December 10, 2015, entitled “Request for Investigation” addressed to the Ministry of Education, Kpissay claimed the MoE through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning began payment for three of the remaining eight months arrears due members of the Ministry’s decentralization personnel (75) in number assigned in the 15 counties of the country; the income was earned in the 2013/2014 fiscal year but unpaid due to the personnel being excluded from the Ministry’s fiscal plan for the period as excused by the former Minister Etmonia Davies Tarpeh.

Accordingly, the document said, the first payment for two months against the arrears made in Liberian dollars at the rate of 78LD to 1USD was in July 2015, followed by a second two months payment on October 8, 2015.

The document maintained that in the ongoing third payment for three months, he (Kpissay) has been excluded as per oral information he received from the Ministry of Education Central Office as a result of a report from Gbarpolu County Education Officer, Danwolo B.S. Catakaw, alleging that he (Kpissay) abandoned the contract with the Ministry during its existence, something the complainant challenged.

When CEO Catakaw was contacted in Gbarpolu County on the matter, he said Kpissay would suffer the situation because he does not want to work along with his office to ensure that he receive his salaries arrears, while DEO Charles Kaba for his part, said that Kpissay was frustrated and doesn’t know what to do about his case.

When the Communication Officer of the Ministry of Education Maxson Bleeten was contacted on the matter, he declined to comment unless all relevant information concerning the case is gathered.

By Emmanuel M. Davies-Edited by Jonathan Browne

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