Pres. Weah ‘Dismisses’ Airport Authority Boss

Bishop John Allan Klayee

-- Sources say Bishop Klayee actually resigned over pressure to sign a deal that would stifle RIA’s revenue

President George Weah, has dismissed with immediate effect the Managing Director of the Liberia Airport Authority (LAA), Bishop John Allan Klayee.

Bishop Klayee was relieved of his post early Tuesday, July 6, 2021 for administrative reasons, according to a release from the Executive Mansion.

However, sources at the LAA have told the Daily Observer that Bishop Klayee was not dismissed as speculated, but resigned a day before the Executive Mansion statement.

According to sources, his resignation was triggered by pressure from the executive to approve a concession at the RIA, which he believed would not be in the interest of the entity and Liberia.

The deal, the sources said, has the backing of the executive and involves a Qatar company, which wants to handle the airport’s ground operations.

The cargo handling function of the airport was contracted out to a joint venture company, GLS/NAS, from Liberia and Kuwait. “Now, the Weah government wants to strangulate the LAA further by giving out the ground handling to a foreign company, thus leaving the entity with limited revenue opportunity. 

“Seeing this, Bishop Klayee objected to the deal on the grounds that it was not in the interest of the LAA and Liberians and that it would not create jobs for Liberians. The deal, Bishop Klayee believes, could further limit the airport’s revenue,” the sources added.

Ground handling comprises several services rendered between the time an aircraft arrives at an airport terminal and the time it departs from there. These include passenger services (check-in, boarding), ramp services (luggage, lavatory, refueling, etc.), and aircraft (cabin, catering, etc) services.

Sources also disclosed that the Jordanian group, along with the Board Chair of the LAA, have signed the agreement but Mr. Klayee has refused to sign it.

They add that the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Nathaniel F. McGill, has been pushing for the signing of the agreement but Mr. Klayee remains adamant to the call by the Minister to sign.

“Just last week, Minister McGill placed a call to find out reasons for the delay in signing the agreement. Bishop Klayee has said it's not in the interest of the LAA and demanded an audience with President Weah to bring him abreast of said concerns. 

“Additionally,  the agreement says the company will decide who to hire and not to hire based on performance. This is one of the dangerous parts of the agreement and it's good that Klayee declined to sign,” sources told the Observer

Meanwhile, President Weah has instructed the Deputy Managing Director for Administration, Martin Hayes, to act as Managing Director of the LAA pending the appointment of the entity’s new boss.

It has also been gathered that the General Services Agency (LAA) Director Mary T. Broh is poised to succeed Klayee at the LAA. 

Madam Broh is currently the Director General of the General Services Agency, which is responsible for managing all government's assets and previously served at the helm of the National Port Authority, the Monrovia City Corporation, the Passport Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, all of which were notoriously corrupt and disorganized. She was hailed for her no-nonsense leadership, bringing transparency and streamlining the operations of those institutions, for effective service delivery to the public.

Additionally, President Weah has begun taking strong decisions against government officials, including dismissal and suspension. 

Prior to the dismissal of Director Klayee today July 6, 2021, the Liberian leader suspended the Deputy Commissioner for Operations at the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS), Abigail N. Wisseh, for administrative reasons.

President Weah also sacked Deputy Information Minister for Press and Public Affairs at the Ministry of Information Cultural Affairs and Tourism, Eugene L. Fahngon. 

During his dismissal, President Weah warned officials that he would not hesitate to take similar action against officials of government, especially those engaged in activities that undermine established government policy.