Hon. Joekai Intensifies Quest to Sanitize GoL Payroll

Dioda Wreh-Seekey

In commitment to promote transparency, accountability, and good governance in public finance management, the Director-General of the Civil Service Agency (CSA) has re-echoed the call for the General Auditing Commission to conduct a comprehensive and forensic payroll compliance audit that will cut across all one hundred and three (103) government spending entities.

On March 26, 2024, addressing members of the 4th Estate during a press briefing at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs, and Tourism (MICAT), Hon. Josiah F. Joekai, Jr., disclosed that the audit will cover the period between January 1, 2022, and December 31, 2023, which will provide vital insights into the extent of financial mixed management and irregularities within the government of Liberia payroll.

Hon. Joekai stated that the government headed by President Joseph Nyumah Boakai, Sr., is fully in support of this critical national initiative and is committed to providing the necessary resources to facilitate the CSA and GAC’s effective execution of this audit.

During the press conference, the CSA boss disclosed the widespread discrepancies at the Ministry of States for Presidential Affairs and the Liberia National Police after an employee headcount exercise conducted by the CSA analysts.

“The revelation of these disparities underscores the urgent need for comprehensive reforms to rectify these egregious discrepancies and prevent further misuse of public funds, Hon. Joekai asserted.

In furtherance, the DG reported the blocking of salaries and the subsequent removal of staff being put on the government’s payroll who were employed as of December 18, 2023, which goes in violation of former President George Mannah Weah’s directive to suspend all new employment and service contracts across government institutions.

Beginning the fight from home, Hon. Joekai said, “It is often said that he who comes with equity must come with clean hands.” He mentioned that over the last six years, the government and its partners have spent millions of dollars on projects intended to modernize critical human resource management systems, including payroll, performance management, testing, employment, and pension. For example, the World Bank spent over US$10.000, 000 (Ten Million) on the Public Sector Modernization Project (PSMP). Several other government entities received hundreds of thousands of dollars from our own and foreign taxpayers to implement different aspects of the project. So, it is only befitting that we gain full insight into the project’s success and failure measures.

Against this backdrop, the Director-General stated that the CSA has requested the GAC to conduct a forensic system and financial audit on the CSA’s governance and fiscal operations, including government funding and donor support, from January 1, 2018, to December 31, 2023. The audit, he added, will be part of scheduled audits beginning in July 2024.

Hon. Joekai added that the CSA will work with all spending entities concerned to reverse all promotions and salary increments during the period of the presidential directive.

Meanwhile, the Director-General of the Civil Service Agency expressed plans to launch a comprehensive policy guideline to transform the selection, employment, and management of consultants and consulting firms across the government during a two-week period as an integral part of CSA’s ongoing reform efforts, adding that it will mark a significant departure from the immediate past corrupt consultancy practices.


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