LIBERIA NEWS:DISMISSED EPS AGENTS CRAVE LEGISLATURE’S INTERVENTION

…Say Their Dismissal Was Premeditated By Director Sam Gaye

By: Moses M. Tokpa

MONROVIA-Dismissed employees of the Executive Protection Service (EPS) are craving the intervention of the Legislature into what they termed as the illegal termination of their services by the administration of the EPS new boss Sam Gaye.

The agents in a press statement read by Agent Godfrey Weah on the grounds of the Capitol Building on Monday, April 22, 2024, said they have filed a complaint to the House of Representatives and the Liberian Senate drawing the attention of both bodies and soliciting their prompt actions into the ‘illegal’ act by the current leadership of the EPS headed by Director Sam Gaye to terminate their services without legal basis.

“We are Agents of the elite of the Executive Protection Service (EPS) through this medium we have filed our complaint to the Liberia Senate and Representatives drawing your attention and soliciting your prompt actions into illegal act by the current leadership of the EPS headed by Director Sam Gaye to terminate our service without legal basis,” the Agents expressed.

Mr. Weah told Journalists that during the year 2018 between the months of May and June, they were recruited by the authority of the EPS as a conduit of beefing the strength of the agents of EPS in providing security protection for the VIPs in line with the National Security Reform and Intelligence Act.

According to him, the EPS authority in 2018 provided official employment letters indicating their various employments for a three-month probationary period in keeping with section 13.1 of the Decent Work Act of 2015.

Godfrey Weah indicated that after successfully serving their probationary period, the administration of the EPS conducted an assessment on the performance of each of the agents and wrote official employment letters permanently employing all agents concerned.

He maintained that they have all been serving the EPS diligently and professionally since 2018 up to recent time when the current leadership of the EPS terminated their services indicating that it has determined that they (Agents) did not meet the minimum requirements of the institution.

Godfrey narrated that under the EPS manual and regulations, there are acts that constitute grounds for suspension as well as immediate termination, but these provisions of the EPS Duty Manual and Regulations were not scrupulously followed by the new administration of the EPS.

He noted that officials of the EPS like all other Liberians are protected by the 1986 Constitution of the Republic of Liberia and have the right to due process of law, all right that is known as the law of the land.

“Article 11 of the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia, 1986 provides the fundamental rights of all Liberians including the rights to be treated equally before the law. Hence, no Liberian irrespective of political, religious or tribal affiliations is to be denied the right to due process and employment especially before decision that will affect the livelihood of group of individuals are taken,” he added.

He said in an instant case, the officers concerned were served termination letters without being subjected to any form of initial screening before declaring them as not meeting the minimum entry requirements for employment as agents of the EPS.

“A relevant part of the termination letter states that it had been determined by the administration of the EPS that you, we the agents of the EPS did not meet the minimum entry requirements to be employed by the EPS,” he said in the petition statement.

He intoned that to declare a group of individuals unfit to meet a set of requirements, these individuals should be subject to an impartial and independent evaluation process with the outcome known to the concerned individuals something according to him was not done prior to the issuance of the termination letters.

The EPS Agents added, “We believe that our rights to employment, due process of law and basic human rights have all been violated by the new administration of the EPS headed by Director Sam Gaye. We wish to state that our right to survival and that of our family rights and dependents are critical in this state.”

Meanwhile, the agents said they strongly believed that the termination of their services was premeditated by the Director of the Executive Protection Service, Sam Gaye.

Godfrey Weah on behalf of the group, revealed that Director Gaye during his appearance before the Liberian Senate for confirmation hearing on Monday, February 12, 2024 declared that he would terminate the services of many agents of the EPS on grounds that the number of agents has increased.

He said Director Gaye told members of the Liberian Senate that when he served as head of the agents during the regime of former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, he left 450 active agents, but upon his appointment by President Joseph Nyuma Boakai as Director, he met 900 agents.

Agent Weah asserted that this premeditated statement by Director Sam Gaye published widely in the newspapers and aired on radio stations, as agents of the EPS, they see this action on the part of the Director as being tantamount, the threat to the office of the presidency.

He explained that they were also branded as partisans of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) by Director Gaye whereas they took oath to protect the country and VIPs.

At the same time, the dismissed EPS Agents have further accused the Liberia National Police under the command of Col. Gregory Coleman of violating their rights.

The EPS agents intimated that it is not only Director Gay that is bent on violating their rights, but also the Liberia National Police as on Thursday, April 19, 2024 the LNP under the command of Col. Gregory Coleman wrongfully arrested, brutalized and humiliated seven of their colleagues who had appeared on radio station (Voice of Liberia) exercising their rights of freedom of expression.

He mentioned that the rights of their colleagues continue to be violated by the LNP as such, they are calling the attention of the Legislature to ensure the protection of the rights of these peaceful Liberians.

The agents also cautioned the Commissioner of the LNP, Col. Gregory Coleman to stay clear the matter and warned LNP officers to desist from intimidating, harassing and interfering with agents of the EPS, as they will not continue to allow such maltreatment from the LNP.

The dismissed EPS agents have at the same time, said they remain law abiding and look forward to the prompt intervention of the Legislature into this matter, but have however given the Liberia National Police 72hrs ultimatum to release their colleagues.

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