MOL DISMISSES FOUR EMPLOYEES, ONE INSPECTOR By: Julius Konton

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The dismissal of four employees including an inspector at the Ministry of Labor has sparked serious mix feelings and controversy at the Ministry of Labor. According to the Ministry of Labor, the four dismissed employees and one inspector to include: Edwin S. Seeboe, Victor S. Whymah, Samuel S. Sambola and Bill S. Ninneh and Raymond Saah, an inspector were dismissed for their alleged illegal act carried out in Gbarpolu County.  The Ministry also stated that the decision was taken following an investigation by a team at the Ministry of Labor. However, an investigation conducted by this entity uncovered that there was no investigation conducted by the Ministry before final decision was reached.”I Challenge the Ministry to call the names of those who conducted the investigation, when was it done and to make public the findings”, our source added.

“They have not even called for investigation, neither to issue the guys letter”, our source maintained. Our source, during our investigation also wonder how on earth can you dismissed people who acted under instructions and uncovered a 44,000USD violation allegedly carried out by the Chinese. “These same Chinese were fined by the Ministry of Mines and Energy $ 25,000USD for illegally operating in the area and  were warned not to continue operation until their fines were paid”, our source disclosed. Moreover, our source questioned that if there was an investigation conducted which the Ministry claimed and found the four employees and an inspector liable, why the Ministry did not retrieve their items from the employees after the investigation but in their release called on them to turn over all of government or the Ministry’s properties, this is sad, they added. According to our source the abrupt decision was arbitrarily and allegedly taken to protect an Assistant Minister at the Ministry.  The investigation also uncovered  that the four employees and an inspector received a signed and approved communication from the Assistant Minister for Planning and Manpower Development Emmanuel Barnes and the Inspector General at the Ministry of Labor and acted in line with their direct scope and mandate by their immediate bosses.It was also alleged by the Superintendent of Gbarpolu County Sam Zinnah that the employees and an Inspector harassed and extorted monies from the Chinese miners but an investigation conducted by the law enforcement officer in the county established  no prove that the employees and an inspector carried out such alleged act thereby declaring them innocent of the crimes. The illegal mining site in question where the Chinese are allegedly operating is behind Henry’s Town, about six hours drive away from Bopolu City. The Superintendent of Gbarpolu County Sam Zinnah  is also on record for disclosing that the controversial  mining site  in question is under the control of an Assistant Minister at Labor and that  the people there should not pay heed to any labor inspector or employee during their inspection exercise.  Our source at the same time uncovered that the  Assistant Minister allegedly in control of the controversy mining site is Emmanuel Zorh,  whom the Ministry according to our source is shielding the site while the innocent Inspector and employees are feeling the pinch and being batch out for dismissals. However, Assistant Minister Emmanuel Zorh has since denied having link or control area at any mining site in Gbarpolu or any other areas across Liberia.  According to Assistant Minister Emmanuel Zorh, he has no knowledge of mining and at no time said the illegal mining site in question was under his control.  However, he acknowledges aiding the Chinese in obtaining their legal papers based upon a recommendation and instructed his Special Assistant Allison Blama to assist them in the process. Also, in conversation with Allison Blama he confirmed that he aided the Chinese to get all of their legal papers before proceeding any further. He disclosed that he was only told about nine Chinese and not ten as previously disclosed. Displaying documents to justify his point, Mr. Blama stated that six of the Chinese; Zhong Weixiong, Lin Shanwu, Lin Deqiang, Lin Songyu, Zhang Fan and Zhang Jinki went through all of the processes of obtaining their work permit evidence by payment receipts from the LRA, copies of which we have in our possession. However, the six Chinese are yet to get their official work permit cards but, Allison pointed out that  once you went through all of the financial and other processes relative to obtaining a permit, you are  considered an individual or company to operate. As for the remaining three Chinese; Chen Kaihua, Li Wen and Zhang Xiao,  he indicated that their documents are in process even though, our investigation established that they are working. Allison, However did not display  residence permits of the six Chinese to our reporter but stated that the Chinese brought their  residence permits at his office, attached receipts, before they were granted permission to go ahead with the process of obtaining the work permit. “The six Chinese have been advised to do their finger prints as the rest of the other  three will continue the process before further notice “, he added. However, the one Chinese in question, Lin Cheng Xia, whose name was mentioned among the ten Chinese according to our investigation, was not captured under the nine Chinese, Mr. Blama mentioned he helped in obtaining their legal papers as his paper work and other remains in doubt. Meanwhile, when contacted via mobile, the Superintendent of Gbarpolu County Sam Zinnah who disclosed that the controversial mining site in question was under the control of an Assistant Labour Minister refused to mention the name of the Assistant Minister.  As the mix feelings and bitter blood at the Ministry appear to intensify following the dismissals of the five individuals, the  faith and protection of Labor inspectors and employees in enforcing  their work hangs in the balance.

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