Monrovia – The Minister of Finance and Development Planning has defended Francis S. Korkpor, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia over allegation of stealing or diverting employees’ salary for his (Korkpor) personal use.
According to Samuel Tweah, at no time did the Chief Justice eat any employees money as claimed by the aggrieved workers; noting that the aggrieved workers were being rude and unfair to the priest of the high court when they accused and reigned insults at him during a protest over unpaid salaries.
During his meeting with both the aggrieved workers and some executives of the judiciary on Tuesday, October 13, 2020, a huge salary disparity was uncovered when the Technical Team explained the harmonization policy.
Min. Tweah pledged to increase judicial workers salary to US$232, two hundred thirty two dollars United States dollars which will amount to the total of one hundred and ninety-two dollars when the tax is deducted.
The meeting between Tweah and the aggrieved workers was intended to explained the formula used in the harmonization exercise. However, an alleged illegal salary cut was uncovered; for example, employees should have earned US$186.00 dollars each under standardization and harmonization, but they were allegedly receiving US$125.
The Technical team of the MFDP puts the total salary for bailiff under harmonization at US232, but drops to US$192 after taxes.
In spite of the discovery, Minister Tweah resisted allegation by the aggrieved workers that the Chief Justice is behind such malpractice.
Tweah explain that unlike past regimes, the judiciary was exempted from paying taxes, but under Standardization and Harmonization the employees of the judiciary are to pay taxes.
Minister Tweah admitted that the government of Liberia is indebted to the aggrieved workers for 12 months, but said the government will pay in four installments.
According to him, in addition to October salary payment, the government will make the first three months payment to the aggrieved workers by the end of this month.
The Finance Minister clarified that the harmonization exercise ended the issue of separate salaries (United States and Liberian dollars) and combined both as one.
“Going forward beginning October, just as the formula was used to pay people in the Labor Ministry, and everywhere. Whatever you are entitled to, nobody can take it away from you. That’s the principle behind harmonization,” he lamented.
It can be recalled that On Monday, October 12, 2020, Minister Tweah presence at the Temple of Justice was triggered by the protest of aggrieved judicial workers over 12 months of unpaid salaries and other benefits, something he vowed to settle the next day by bringing technicians of the MFDP to explain the formula employed in the harmonization policy.
The aggrieved workers claimed that the Chief Justice allegedly refused to pay, and took away the Liberian dollars portion of their salary for the past 12 months.