By Festus Poquie
Another vital government agency is at a verge of collapse due to a serious financial crisis that has led to several of its staff being layoff an
d normal operation grounded.
The land commission which has been in existence for a little over five years, is gradually shutting down because it has no money to finance its activities and underwrite obligations.
The scope and nature of the entities financial crisis is unclear. Approximately 30 employees’ services have been abruptly terminated with no benefits.
Prior to their redundancy the Land Commission’s finances were already in red and could not afford to pay staff’s salaries and benefits. The situation is so severe to the extent that people still in the employ of the entity are not receiving salaries.
It is almost three months now, and employees are showing up at work with no remuneration, sources have said. The once lively compound of the Commission on 9th Street, Sinkor is near ghost town. This writer saw evidence of graphic shutdown when he visited the Commission to ascertain the facts. Few staff, less than 10 were seen while some offices were empty.
The new democrat has seen documents wherein management has conceded to donors bringing to stoppage their financial assistance to the Commission.
There is no clear reason why donors have ended support to the institution who oversight responsibility is crucial to peace and security judging from the many land disputes in the country.. But some financial aid are tied to accountability of project fund and integrity of the institution administering the grant.
The Land Commission has been mainly donor driven. There has been no government audit of the institution. It has been reported that the commission’s management resisted audit when auditors from the General Auditing Commission were deployed there to performed examination of the entity’s financial records.
Dr. Othello Brandy who chairs the Commission was not present to spect to these issues and as such no staff was willing to grant an interview on the matter.
The Land Commission was established by an Act of the Legislature on August 9, 2009. It has the mandate to propose, advocate and coordinate land policy, laws and programs in the country. It commenced official operation in March, 2010.
In January, this year President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf issued Executive Order No. 66 to extend its tenure.
It is the latest government’s entity to join the National Oil Company of Liberia in bankruptcy.
NOCAL has grounded for the first time in more than a decade after hitting bankruptcy that seems rooted in financial mismanagement and waste. Its entire staff has been layoff.
The Liberia Anti Corruption Commission (LACC) is currently finally conducting an economic crimes investigation into the Oil Company’s shocking collapse.
orruption has been at the heart of the country’s hydrocarbon sector management.
NOCAL has been one of the lucrative state owned enterprises in the country netting millions of United States dollars from various multinational oil companies.
There has been no anticipation that the company’s mega dollar status will die soon given the virgin nature of the nation’s hydrocarbon industry that attracted billion dollar oil giants like Chevron and Exxon-Mobil.