Alleged Wrongful Dismissals Prick CSA -To Invite Minister Kruah For Conference By: Julius Konton

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The alleged internal conflict at the Ministry of Labor appears to be long ending especially with the latest involvement of the Civil Service Agency. Under the signature of the Director General of the Civil Service Agency, Josiah F. Joekai, the Minister of Labour, Cllr. Cooper Kruah, has been invited by the CSA for a conference. The hearing expected Tuesday, July 9, 2024, at the EJS Ministerial Complex in Congo, aimed at seeing Cllr. Kruah respond to complaint filed by Samuel Sambola S. Et. Al employees of the Ministry of Labor for alleged wrongful dismissals. Citing the CSA standing orders section 6.3.7.a, the communication advised all parties to the appeal hearing or shall be represented by a person of their choosing. “This may be a lawyer, even though hearing shall be informal and rules of evidence shall not be applicable, ” the communication further stated. “We would appreciate the cooperation of the Ministry of Labor to ensure a prompt resolution of the complaint filed and please find attached a copy of the complaint filed, ” Mr. Joekai under his signature of the communication added. The latest move by the aggrieved employees to run to the appropriate authority of government, the CSA regarding their matter came following their decision to challenge their dismissals by the Minister of Labour. In their response to the Ministry’s action through a communication, the aggrieved employees challenged the legality of their dismissals by the Ministry of Labor.  ” It is bizarre to note that the Ministry that should be heralding the perfection of good Labor practices has become the epicenter of bad Labor practices, wrongful dismissals, misrepresentation and misinterpretation of a clearly written law of the country,” the communication signed by the four aggrieved employees noted. The four dismissed employees to include Samuel S. Sambolah, HIV/ AIDS Focal Person, Victor S. Whymah, Planning Officer, Edwin S. Sebo, Child Labor Monitor and Bill S. Ninneh , Administrative Assistant to the Assistant Minister of Planning, all call for the unconditional withdrawal of such alleged unlawful and un-procedural dismissals and to as well inform the general public that the decision on the part of the Ministry was an error. “We feel that this will clear our names from the unwanted reputational damages of the action and we believe that such action was taken unilaterally without consensus and proper reference check,” they added. The aggrieved employees who also challenged the legality of their dismissals also refuted assertions in the dismissal letter dated June 19, 2024, stating that they were in Gbarpolu on June 14, 2024 allegedly exhibiting conducts unbecoming of an employee in public service.  Citing few reasons to justify why their dismissals were illegal, the aggrieved employees wondered and questioned what embarrassment according to the dismissal press release, did their authorized action by uncovering the working of eleven Illegal aliens in the country without alleged work permits amounting to USD$44, 000 violation bring to the Ministry of Labor. They explained further that on June 15, 2024, they arrived in Gbarpolu County with an authorized document duly signed by the Inspector General of Labor and the Assistant Minister for Planning and Manpower Development, who was acting then as the Deputy Minister of Planning and Manpower Development at the Ministry respectively. Commenting on the alleged illegal component  of their dismissals through a communication addressed to the Deputy Minister of Administration, Othello P. Mansuo, the aggrieved Labor employees stated that how can the Ministry dismissed them referencing chapter 4, section 2/4.2.2 d, of the Civil Service standing orders by quoting it partially and not in its entirety. Chapter 4 section 2/4.2.1 according to them states, ” when a case of misconduct or general inefficiency is brought to the attention of the Agency’s Head or Director General, disciplinary proceedings shall be initiated only after the employee or officer concerned has been given adequate opportunity to exculpate himself “. The aggrieved employees therefore in line with the section, challenged the legality of their dismissals stating that when was the investigation done or conducted before action was taken as previously indicated in the dismissal press release. Moreover, they wondered who were those part of the disciplinary committee, who conducted the investigation as well as the written outcome or recommendations from the committee’s report”, they further justified their case. At the same time , the aggrieved four employees making reference to Chapter 4, section 2/4.2.2,  d of the very Civil Service standing orders that says ” if in the opinion of the Agency’s Head or Director General an employee fails to exculpate himself, the following penalties shall apply” conduct unbecoming of employee in public service disorderly or immoral conduct penalty shall be two letters of warning followed by dismissal something they argued did not happen as such encouraged the Ministry to do the right and proper thing. Ahead of the appeal hearing and or conference at the CSA on Tuesday, the Labor Ministry has witnessed protests, internal fight, claims and counterclaims from top to button due to diverse reasons from both parties involved.  The Ministry thus appears to be divided, with some group in favor of Minister Kruah whom due to alleged kinsman ship and or county ties and or link while the other party sees itself as marginalized body. The opposing party, many of whom are mixed with few senior, junior and under staffers, disclosed and alleged that the Ministry is flooded with one ethnic group of people, both in senior and junior managerial levels, many of whom they claim are supporting Minister Kruah’s  alleged wrong doings. ” We hope that the CSA will address the wrongful dismissal issue first and properly and also see the need to go to the root cause of this matter which in our mind is the tribal issue directly and allegedly surrounded by Minister Kruah, if not the crisis will continue to be an off and on basis,” the aggrieved employees stated. Meanwhile, Minister Kruah has since distanced himself from link to tribal population at the Ministry of Labor but at the same time, maintained that the four dismissed employees were dismissed for among other things, unbecoming behavior as public servants, a claim the dismissed employees too have since rejected, terming their dismissals as wrongful and illegal. In the wake of claims and counterclaims, including pointing of accusing fingers from the two parties , the ball is now in the court of the CSA to in their wisdom  in keeping with the Agency’s standing orders to look into the matter and make a final determination as to whether the decision taken by the Ministry of Labor sanctioned by Minister Cooper Kruah was in accordance with the CSA standing orders or  a bridge and or violation of the employees in what they described as wrongful dismissals.

 

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