New Gov’t to Refund Soldiers’ US$1M

6
2203
President Sirleaf with wives of AFL soldiers at her Fish Market residence.

In consultation with President-elect George Weah, authorities of the Ministry of National Defense (MOD) have agreed to take appropriate action to refund the US$1,147,656.35 that was reportedly taken from the soldiers’ pension fund and expended on operations of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) since August 2009.

Minister Brownie J. Samukai told reporters yesterday at his office in Monrovia that there is an immediate plan to refund the soldiers’ money in the next budgetary appropriation, as agreed by the government.

According to Minister Samukai, the protest by the wives of some of the affected AFL soldiers came to the attention of the government when an alarm was raised concerning how and why the fund was deducted from soldiers’ monthly salary and deposited into a pension fund account for each soldier.

“They were concerned that funds used from the account of the AFL activities should not have been used for that purpose; that the government should have allotted money in the budget to cater to the welfare of the soldiers,” Samukai said.

According to him, in August 2009, the ministry established a ‘contributory savings’ that involved deductions from all ranks of the AFL for their welfare and supplementary pension benefit after their years of honorable service. As of October 2017, the amount of US$2,062,160.14, including accrued interest, were collected and deposited into that account at one of the local banks.

Samukai said: “It has been established that about US$1,147,656.35 was spent on the AFL and the balance of US$688,946.96 as of November 8, 2017.” Following the outcry by families of the AFL personnel on the status of said account, the Chief of Staff (COS), Major/General Daniel Dee Ziankahn, ordered an immediate investigation through the Board of Inquiry to determine the status, utilization and balance of said account.

Meanwhile the findings from the report have established that the MOD neither set up guidelines nor a clear policy on how the welfare account would be used. Therefore, the ministry authorized the expenditure of funds from this account on soldiers’ welfare without the requisite consent of the AFL high command; that the ministry did not provide timely information to personnel of the AFL on the operations and utilization of the money.

The findings also reported that MOD failed to seek requisite budgetary appropriations for the welfare of the soldiers and that the ministry should not have used the funds for the benefit of the soldiers without the requisite budgetary appropriation; that the ministry is also responsible for the procedural lapses in the management, expenditure and utilization of said funds while all monies spent on personnel welfare should have been handled by and through the government’s normal budgetary appropriation, and not from the AFL welfare account. Documents revealed that expenditures made from this welfare account were for the benefit of the soldiers and their families, but that was never done.

Following these findings, Samukai said that the AFL shall manage all of its accounts, including the welfare account, through their chains of command without any hindrance nor interference from authorities of the MOD, adding “There shall be no further withdrawal from this account until such time when a clear and concise policy is put into place that will articulate the management, procedure, criteria and authorization for the usage and expenditure of monies from the AFL and welfare account, and there shall be no further deduction from the morale and welfare account.”

“The MOD shall not utilize any funds appropriated for or belonging to the AFL for any purpose absolutely whatsoever,” Samukai said.

In a related development, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, in her capacity as the Commander-In-Chief of the AFL, yesterday met the wives of the aggrieved soldiers to resolve outstanding problems surrounding the compulsory savings that the women claimed the MOD owes them. The President assured the aggrieved women of government’s commitment to resolving their concerns.

According to an Executive Mansion release, the President assured that women that the government will pay the money into the soldiers’ accounts over a period of time, noting, “I, as well as the President-elect have been briefed by the Chief of Staff of the AFL.” President Sirleaf met the aggrieved wives of AFL soldiers, who were accompanied to the President’s Fish Market residence by the Chief of Staff, Major General Daniel Dee Ziankahn.

It can be recalled that the aggrieved wives of AFL soldiers recently blocked the main road leading to Roberts International Airport (RIA), which hampered the free flow of traffic, in demand of accountability for their husbands’ compulsory savings. The President then commended the women for the professional services their husbands exhibited on behalf of the country.

“Let me use this time to commend you for allowing your beloved husbands to serve our country,” President Sirleaf said. She then thanked the women for their patience in addressing their concerns, stressing that Maj. Gen. Ziankahn will take charge of the matter instead of the MOD.

Authors

6 COMMENTS

  1. When people learned book too much this is some of the result they cheat you who don’t understand the language. I know this other money was going to rest in peace in some of the know book people pockets while those poor wives of our gallant soldiers struggle to live.

  2. Considering that a mutiny of sorts in the army is ongoing next door Ivory Coast, resolving the matter was a step in the right direction: Kudos EJS. However, the incomprehensible incompetence displayed by AFL ought to be properly investigated.

  3. The silent majority instructs AFL to order swift military disbursement of such funds to soldiers wives in keeping with their own military financial code, excluding civil impacts regardless next chain in command. This is an in-camp military payment. God bless Liberia and its people.
    Prepare the nation for the inauguration in peace for prosperity. Do not reply.
    Gone to 57% in silence.

  4. Those who seek to become American citizens and exploit their own resources by stealing government funds to pay housing and school fees in the U.S. dump their own existence in the United States and resolve to the dual by using un researched partial American-Liberian past history to justify these actions. Emblems are sometimes used. For example, the Liberian flag. Modeled is the key word sometimes used by these opportunists. If the Liberian flag has one star with a square field and the American flag has 50 stars on a rectangular fiedl is that a model? Is Bong County flag modeled after the United States? Does Grand Bassa flag and the rest of the 15 county flags models? Is the seal of the Republic of Liberia modeled after the United States? Historians disagree. The Liberian constitution is not in isolation with checks and balances of three branches of government. There are many other nations of the world that have the same or even exist as such but some being Anglicized others self enhanced. Did the United States model their electors? We should also note that when the settlers came to Cape Mesurado some came with their own creativities brought to Liberia and abstracted the ones they were enslaved to be later freed to blend with tribal laws to fit commonwealth guidelines to establish their own. How do you know that they were not modeled from instead or after another African state ? Even the Krus came to na na Kru and established their county flag. Did they model this flag? We must take what we have been given and stop using other nations generics to model our identity to make useless spending and incite the people to upheavals. Use our own resources to develop ourselves, our generations and the country. This nation was founded by elders, chiefs, settlers, tribesmen their children, and those that followed and has its own culture and traditions. We will no longer allow totalitarians like those of Yansosackpasee to use our inheritance to foster your foreign pleasurable greedy intent with no real reason but a force to tyranny and power. On January 31, 2018 12:00 mid night Liberian standard time, the transition is over. The President acts within his executive function and power, on his own.
    Tell the Liberian people in Liberian. Do not answer this box.
    Gone to 57% silent majority.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here