Former and some current employees of the National Housing Authority (NHA) have refused to accept partial payment of fourteen months salary arrears owed to them by the management of the authority.
The former President of the NHA Workers Union, Jipoe B. Jipoe said the management has reneged on its earlier commitment made during eight months of negotiation to settle the fourteen months arrears.
Mr. Jipoe told the In Profile Daily that contrary to management’s earlier commitment, it has decided to initially pay them only three months arrears for 2003.
According to the NHA former Workers’ Union President, management accrued six months salary arrears in 1999 and eight months in 2003.
Mr. Jipoe argued that there was no need for the NHA management to refuse to pay them all of the fourteen months arrears because government has already made the money available.
Making reference to a voucher marked MOF\SC-001-680-ASU-12543, he disclosed that in July, 2011, government provided over 500,000 United States dollars to several agencies including the NHA only for the payment of salary arrears.
In the voucher, a copy of which is in the possession of this paper, the NHA received 45,475.00 United States dollars to settle the employees’ arrears.
It can be recalled that during an In Profile Daily investigation last year September, the management of the NHA admitted receiving said amount from government for the purpose of salary arrears.
The management at the time said it used a significant portion of the money for different purpose because the voucher did not stipulate the specific salary arrears the money was intended for.
According to the management, of the 45, 475.00 United States dollars, 17,000 United States dollars was in its possession, and that it had informed the Finance Ministry about how the money was used and how to expend the balance.
The NHA management indicated that it was in the process of carrying out a comprehensive research to identify the legitimate beneficiaries after which they would have been paid.
Meanwhile, the former NHA Workers’ Union President has called on the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) to investigate the NHA management regarding the usage of the 45, 475.00, describing the manner in which the money was used as an act of corruption.
When contacted via mobile phone, NHA’s Managing Director Samuel Thompson said the entity has already begun the payment of the salary arrears.
Mr. Thompson confirmed that the NHA is at the moment paying three months of the fourteen months arrears, and called on the beneficiaries to accept what is available in good fate.
According to him, management is exerting all efforts to settle all of the arrears owed the former and some current employees.
When asked about the 45,475 United States dollars government provided last year for the payment of salary arrears, the NHA Managing Director declined to speak to the issue.