MONROVIA, April 27-At long last, what appears to be a long standing syndicate at the Liberia Environmental Protection Agency-EPA has been busted by the acting head of the Agency, Randall Dobayou. Dobayou has been in the position for less than three months following the suspension of Nathanial Blama.
Blama was the one who brought the COVID-19 virus in Liberia after he rejected health protocols at the Roberts International Airport upon his return from Europe.
He decided to go home to carry on self quarantine. But later, it led to his security and domestic worker contracting the virus.
But at his former agency, the syndicate, according to sources at the EPA has been ongoing for over two years under his watch.
However, following suspension of Blama, Mr. Dobayou was informed of alleged syndicate which has been operating there for years defrauding the agency of thousands of united States dollars, apparently with the consent of Mr. Blama.
“Upon getting the information, Mr. Dobayou decided to set up an open dragnet-which means, anyone who crosses the redline will be caught. And this was what actually happened,” the source who declined to be name said.
As a result of that, the first casualty were: “ Elizabeth Hoggar, Comptroller and Mr. John Jallah, manager for Compliance and Enforcement. They were suspended indefinably and their deputies were asked to act in their positons in the meantime.
For Mr. Kawusu Toure, Assistant Manager for ESIA(Please state what this means) was transferred to a different position. Some referred to his new transfer as demotion.
Reasons for suspension:
The three were said to have received an amount of US$4,500(Four thousand five hundred united states dollars) from Diamond Food(Lib) and placed said amount into their personal accounts.
The amount was an ESIA fees paid to the entity-EPA. Instead of depositing the amount into EPA’s account, the three suspended officers pocketed it; thus leaving the entity to go without the needed resources.
“The Blama’s alleged Syndicate slipped to Dobayou’s files Diamond Food’s permit for signature; but the payment record was omitted. When Dobayou pushed further, it was discovered that they collected physical cash from Diamond Food. This is not suppose to be the case. It tells you that probably these are some of the things they used to do when Blama was there,” the source at EPA said.
“My brother, dog luck is different from sheep luck. If Dobayou had not pushed, they would have defrauded the EPA of that money. For me, I think Randall should press on them. This is a big syndicate which has been going on for a long time. This is a young boy who wants to keep his reputation and integrity. So, he will not like to condone anything to the contrary,” the source added.
But a senior official at the EPA said, “I will not call that pocketing money. But they failed to follow some administrative procedures. As senior officers, they should not have allowed themselves to go into this act. If that what they used to do, some of us may not know.”
When this paper contacted Aloysius David, media specialist, he said, “he did not know the full details of their suspension.” But admitted of a suspension at the entity in recent times.
David added: “I do not have the details. What I can say is that a team been set up to further carry out comprehensive investigation.” He said an official response from the EPA would be released issued on Monday.
It can be recalled that early this year this paper reported of some unprofessional activities that were taking place under the watch of Mr. Blama. That some of the fees were arbitrarily increased and unaccounted for, said situation was affecting the entity.
That, Mr. Blama denied and said he would resign or should be fired if anything of such was seen at the EPA. When this paper contacted his phone for comment, there was no response to authenticate this allegations. TNR