-Say he’s in total disobedience of orders from Executive Mansion and Finance Ministry
The Daily Observer has been reliably informed that a number of Election magistrates have accused the Chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Cllr. Jerome George Korkoya, of refusing to allow them have their fair share of the ongoing salary harmonization at ministries and agencies.
The NEC magistrates, who preferred anonymity, said that Korkoya is harming them, instead of helping them to benefit from the ongoing salary harmonization exercise.
“We make less than a thousand United States Dollars each, and since our appointments and subsequent employment, we are yet to receive salary increments commensurate with the credentials of some of us and, by extension, our other colleagues whose portfolios also call for improvements in their salaries,” one of the magistrates said to our reporter via mobile phone.
Though Chairman Korkoya has termed the magistrates’ allegation as “mere propaganda,” one of them (name withheld) said that, as per the policy effectuating the salary harmonization, they are to be ranked at the level of ‘directors’ in any other agency of government, and that they deserve increment in their respective salaries, instead of reduction of their salaries.
Korkoya: “I wish not to dignify this allegation but, for the record, I am not a superman at the NEC. Decisions taken here are done by the entire Board of Commissioners, of which I am a member and, by extension, the head.”
Although he could not confirm or deny the allegations, Korkoya emphatically declared that the so-called magistrates should stop fabricating stories against the Commission in an effort to win public sympathy or the Finance Ministry’s attention.
“I am not the Finance Minister, but I take orders from the Finance Ministry when it comes to financial issues. We are not a revenue generating agency of government, and so we do not have control over money,” he said.
He added, “The salary harmonization is intended to affect all of us, so [that] other people of far lower ranks can have some improvements in their incomes.” He said that whatever the Finance Ministry says, “that is what I will follow,” because, according to him, it is in the best interest of the country.
But some of the magistrates have maintained: “We make US$900 as monthly salary, and instead of going up in salary, NEC finance office has informed us that there will be an eight percent cut in our salaries. This is so frustrating. We are not ministers, who make six to seven thousand United States Dollars. This is wrong and we believe that it is completely far from what the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MDFP) wants to see happen,” some of the magistrates complained, adding “if what they have said is true, it means that the respective salaries of election magistrates will drop from US$900 to around US$720, through the salary harmonization exercise”.
Another magistrate also informed the Daily Observer on Wednesday, August 14, 2019 at NEC headquarters that if the eight percent is to equally affect Korkoya, and the rest of the Commissioners, it will in no way impact them negatively(Commissioners), because they earn US$7,000 each per month.
“We should be elevated in income rather than be treated as if we don’t equally deserve better lives. These are things that usher in acts of corruption in the public sector. It is wrong for a few people to think that they deserve better living conditions than the majority of the people they serve, or to say, their subordinates,” the Magistrate said.
The Magistrate said that NEC employees and contractors may not receive their July and August 2019 salaries, due to Korkoya’s lack of compliance with MFDP’s new financial policy.