The Commissioner General of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) Mrs. Elfrieda Tamba has dismissed rumors that the LRA has refused to pay-off 31 employees who were retired, but said the LRA has over the years been facing financial constraints like any other government agency.
She told the House of Representatives on Tuesday, May 1, that the LRA is willing to settle the retirement salaries of the redundant employees. And so she is appealing to the legislature to make the necessary appropriation in the 2018/2019 budget.
Mrs. Tamba said out of the US$712,800 owed the retired employees, the LRA was only able to pay US$30,000.
“We are willing to pay the retired employees and we have been trying over the years to get money but we didn’t get all, so we were able to pay US$30,000,” Mrs. Tamba said.
“We are appealing to you Honorable Representatives to help pay the retired employees by putting it in the Budget which is before you. We are prepared to work with whatever committee that is responsible to ensure that the money is paid in a reasonable time,” she noted. “The LRA is like any other governmental agency which stands on the line to get money from the central coffers.”
Through a motion from Lofa County District 3 Representative Clarence Massaquoi that Ways, Means, Finance, and Development Planning work along with the LRA to include the fund in the 2018/2019 Budget, the House’s Plenary unanimously accepted the gesture.
There were arguments among lawmakers that the money for the LRA’s retired employees should be placed in either the LRA or Civil Servants Agency (CSA) allocations or in the general claims.
In an exclusive interview with the LRA Commissioner General, after providing her testimony to members of the House of Representatives, she said it would be preferable that the money is placed in “general claims.”
It may be recalled that 31 retired employees of LRA complained to the House of Representatives recently that the LRA owed them retirement payment for 18 months, which totals about US$712,800.
In a letter to the House of Representatives, the former 31 employees said most of them did not reach the retirement age of 65 or 25 years of continuous service tenure. However, even though they were wrongly retired, the LRA Commission General refused to carry out the retirement process, despite the fact that their pay and all related benefits were captured in the fiscal budget, FY 2016/2017.
Meanwhile, during the House of Representatives recent session, members resolved that if the LRA cannot pay-off the 31 aggrieved workers due to financial constraints, the LRA should reinstate them until money is available.
The House’s decision followed a report from the Joint Committee on Claims & Petition, Judiciary and Labor that about 31 LRA Employees claimed they were wrongfully retired.
Some of those who were affected include: Robert M. Quiah, Mulbah P. Gayflor, Peter M. Lormie, Siafa G. Sheriff, Theresa G. Kaiser, Felix S.T. Nagbe, Jemire Bull, Thomas J.Y. Germu, Rebecca Gaye, Smith G. Kanno, Nathaniel C. Bestman, Robert Chayee, Edward K. Gouzah, Mike Bogba, Bob N. Johnson and Christine A. Bracewell.