The Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) has described as “total falsehood” reports published by three local newspapers alleging the revenue entity of corrupt practices.
The LRA, through its Commissioner General Elfrieda Stewart Tamba, has sternly warned the three local dailies to retract the publication or face court action if they fail to do.
Among allegations published against LRA are unaccounted US$4 million for allowances and benefits, US$15 million budgetary allotment for salaries of employees, and the LRA’s failure to pay allowances and benefits in line with withholding.
Accordingly, the papers alleged that the Commissioner General earns a monthly salary of US$12,000 while deputies earn US$10,000 and others below US$8,000 respectively.
The reports went further to mention that there was high level of impartiality and lack of transparency and accountability in the management of the LRA.
Reacting to each allegation, Commissioner Tamba said there is no US$4 million unaccounted for at the LRA and that salaries stipulated for Commissioner General and deputies in those publications are untrue.
She clarified that the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning submitted the total budget of US$10 million and the National Legislature adjusted it to US$13 million for the LRA.
She also described as “false” a statement attributed to her that she (as Commissioner General) earns US$12,000 monthly and disclosed that the government approved US$9,250 from which taxes are deducted and is left with the net of US$6,762.00
Commissioner Tamba further disclosed that the salary budget of LRA employees is US$8.6 million and not US$13 million and US$15million published in the newspapers.
A collector does not earn US$300 as reported in the papers but rather US$650 and above, she explained.
On the recruitment process at the LRA, Commissioner Tamba said contacts are made with the Liberia Institute of Public Administration (LIPA), the University of Liberia and other institutions as references about an applicant accepted for an interview.
She further explained that in cases where international organizations are needed, the LRA contacts some UN agencies to help them recruit employees in line with international best practices, consistent with the Liberia Labor Law.
She said the LRA came into existence on July 2014 at the time the country was fighting the Ebola scourge.
Nevertheless, the LRA Commissioner General indicated that they are in line with the work and assured that the target of the fiscal year budget will be met and there may be no budget shortfall.