Delays in the payment of Liberia National Police officers after waiting for nearly three months yesterday took a different turn when pay checks in Liberian dollars could not be encashed at the bank.
After the checks were reportedly rejected due to lack of sufficient funds, LNP authorities under the supervision of the Police Support Unit (PSU) took over yesterday’s payment exercise, which was conducted in the basement of the LNP on Capitol Hill.
A Daily Observer investigation established that during the exercise, which brought together officers from the PSU, Liberian dollar checks that were destined to be cashed at one of the local banks, were discovered to have names of several “dead personnel and officers,” others who had traveled abroad and others dismissed and no longer in the employ of the LNP.
According to our sources, several of the checks which had “ghost names” were returned to the desk presided over by the Assistant Chief of Police, with Code Name ‘Unit 193’, who is also the Deputy PSU Officer for Administration.
“No representative from the Ministry of Finance & Development Planning was at the Police Headquarters, only the hierarchy of the PSU led by one Gabriel Lake,” our sources said.
Our investigation established that during the near brawl owing to the poor nature in which the police payment was done, LNP Deputy Director for Administration (Police 101) William Mulbah reportedly intervened, thereby promising the aggrieved officers to investigate and bring the situation under control.
Meanwhile, some officers whose names were not called became disgruntled and started shouting, “I want my 59 (code for ‘money’) today,” threatening that anything short of this, “will cause me to leave the police, because the police is being micro-managed.”
The Daily Observer reliably learnt that some officers of the elite police Emergency Response Unit (ERU) are getting irritated over the manner in which government and the police authorities were treating them with regard to the delays in their salary payment for over three months.
Although they preferred anonymity, the angry officers in telephone interviews said they were planning to stage series of strike actions that could eventually paralyze normal activities to claim the attention of the Liberian government and people.
The aggrieved officers did not clarify whether their hierarchy could consider their threat of strike action as insubordination, but told this newspaper that they are taking measures to put pressure on the government to settle their salary arrears and address other issues relating to their welfare.
Police spokesman, Sam Collins could not be reached via mobile phone yesterday as his phone remained switched off up to press time last night. He has on previous occasions maintained that the Liberian dollar (LD) component of the officers’ salaries have not been paid, “because the banks were arranging pieces of paperwork with officers concerned.”
Collins declared that the process was on course, while blaming bank authorities for the delay owing to measures being introduced.
According to him, the banks were in the process of opening the LD accounts for the officers, which he said were responsible for the delay. He did not say whether the information as of yesterday has been communicated to the officers. He however disclosed that the LNP is preparing to issue checks to individual officers to settle the LD component of their salaries.
Meanwhile, local banks’ representatives have reportedly taken forms to the Edward Beyan Kessely (EBK) Barracks, the home of the 23rd Infantry Brigade of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) on Monrovia-Robertsfield highway, to be filled out by soldiers so they would be paid in the months ahead.
It may be recalled that since May, salary for the soldiers have been divided into two, with 30 percent allotted in the United States dollars, while the remaining 70 percent is paid in Liberian dollars.