The Ministry of Education (MOE) has, with immediate effect, suspended for “time indefinite,” Nimba County Chief Education Officer (CEO), who was recently accused of committing fraud in a biometric exercise in Nimba County.
The Ministry said it has meanwhile appointed Moses Dologbay as Acting CEO for the county, and also retired the Human Resource Director, S. Othello Hodge.
The MOE revealed that it has named its Recruitment Analyst, Gregory A. Stubblefield, as Acting Human Resource Director until the MOE can advertize the position for a “competitive recruitment process.”
Though a leaked statement from the MOE, a copy of which is in the possession the Daily Observer, said Mr. Wleh T. Sailah was suspended for “administrative reasons,” two teachers attached to the Nimba County School System (NCSS) had earlier accused the CEO of “biometric fraud.”
Earlier on a local radio station in Ganta, the Regional Education Officer, George S. S. Wuo said the suspension of the CEO came from the office of the Deputy Minister of Education for Administration due to some malpractices in regards to the payroll.
According Mr. Wuo, CEO Sillah was allegedly accused of fraudulent acts during the verification period in Nimba County.
The CEO was accused of conflict of interest by placing his children’s names as well as his girlfriend’s name on the payroll during the verification process.
Larlesseh Whapoe Berdeh and Mohammed Saryon, both working in the Sanniquellie System, claimed that CEO Sailah placed the names of two of his children on government’s payroll, thereby denying “legitimate” teachers from going through the biometric exercise.
Mr. Berdeh is assigned at the Sanniquellie Central High School, while Mr. Saryon was prior to the exercise assigned in the office of the CEO.
The duo informed the Daily Observer that the just ended biometric exercise in Nimba County was characterized by fraudulent activities involving the county’s CEO.
According to the two men, the exercise revealed serious “misdeeds” in the county’s school system to the extent that Mr. Sailah allegedly identified his son and daughter as teachers. The two Sailahs were reportedly placed on government’s payroll based on their father’s approval, “whereas the children are not even teaching, neither are they residing in the county.”
The two teachers also accused Mr. Sailah of deleting the names of some “legitimate” teachers, thereby denying the affected teachers from going through the biometric exercise.
The biometric exercise is one of the newest technologies introduced by the Civil Service Agency (CSA) for all government employees to, among other things, help curtail fraud, as is in the case of illegitimate or ‘ghost’ names on government payroll. The technology is mainly used for identification and or using a person’s unique physical and other traits for the purpose of identification and security, among others.
However, during the process in Nimba, a cross-section of teachers, who earlier went through the exercise in the various education districts, had complained of the fraudulent acts allegedly sanctioned by the CEO.
Other teachers, who preferred to remain anonymous, said, during the Sanniquellie process, conducted in October and November this year, Mr. Sailah was visibly seen identifying his son, Snotee Sailah, and his daughter (name not disclosed) as teachers assigned in the county.
“The CEO brought his son and daughter here to Sanniquellie as teachers under the pretext that they are assigned as teachers at the Sanniquellie Pre-Primary Elementary School, where the son, Snotee, did the biometric,” our sources said.
Snotee, according to our sources, was assigned a recent payroll number 21–12–599–0324 as a teacher. His father previously assigned a payroll number, 21–12–588–0248 to him, qualifying him as a driver for the CEO’s county offices in Nimba.
“The payroll number assigned to his daughter is meanwhile withheld by him,” our sources allege. “We are yet to uncover that number.”
“We as teachers considered this act on the part of a reputable figure like the CEO as gross abuse of public trust that requires thorough investigation,” Mr. Berdeh told the Daily Observer.
However, when the Daily Observer contacted CEO Sailah on the alleged fraudulent allegations, he described the reports as “misleading information.”