The outgoing Principal and CEO of the Booker T. Washington Institute, Harris Fomba Tarnue has pointed accusing fingers at one of the Assistant Ministers at the Ministry of Education and officials of the Coalition for Democratic Change in Margibi for his suspension.
Atty. Tarnue in an interview with newsmen in Kakata over the weekend following an indoor meeting with the BWI Board of Governors said the meeting was a preconceive event which has been in the making since September 2018.
According to him, since the forming of the Weah led government; top officials of the Party especially in Margibi have always being witch hunting and targeting him of not being a CDC member or whatever it is.
“And so today the Board of Governors met in a meeting and that meeting was a preconceive event which has been in the making since September 2018, and when the government was being formed top officials of the Party especially in Margibi have always being witch hunting and targeting me as not being a CDC member or whatever it is but I move quickly to correct them on that point because this a Coalition government and I am an organizing member of the National Patriotic Party, I owe that so very dearly and I never deserted NPP since I organized a foot soldier some time back in 1996/1997 before the first election” he lamented.
He expressed that CDCians feel that they control the government and in Margibi people who are Assistant Ministers held a meeting with staff of BWI and accused him of witch-hunting CDCians on the Campus something he said is far from the truth.
He pointed accusing fingers at the Assistant Minister for Research and Planning at the Ministry of Education Dominic D.N. Kweme of being one of those behind his removal.
“Dominic Kweme came here on one occasion meeting with the staff here and said I am witch hunting their staff here, I mean their partisans here, which is far from the truth” the Principal narrates.
Mr. Tarnue explained that the decision to get him out of BWI has been in the making since September 2018 adding that not a single Board meeting that has been held at BWI without a Board member saying they don’t want him as Principal of the Institution.
He has however described his suspension as an abuse of natural law, an abuse of due process of law and an abuse of anything that is known about investigation.
Atty. Tarnue, “You investigate me on anonymous story published in a newspaper accusing me of malpractices, I feel mistreated because people have abused the rule of law and this is cardinal in this Country, when people feel that they are closer to people who are in power and can do what they want to do without regard for the rule of law then this is unfortunate for this Country”.
He said one of the counts that the Board had against him is “the so-called anonymous paper that was published by one Jaivey in the Frontpage Africa Newspaper two years ago alleging all sorts of things and the complaints could not be shown by the Board during the meeting.
Additionally, Mr. Tarnue said since January 6, 2016 he has served as secretary and executive officer of the Board of Governors of BWI and he thinks it has been a good time so far. He added that the records are clear at BWI and he cherished his record and the footprint he left on the Campus as an alumnus and 1980 graduate.
The BWI outgoing Boss revealed that he has broken records at the Institution on grounds that he is the first principal to have been recruited competitively and independently by an international partner.
“When President Sirleaf said she will not handpick any Principal for BWI she formed a committee with CSA in charge with international people on the panel, and out of 9 candidates with two PHD holders being vetted against me I topped that list with the closest person coming to me in a 70point I being 20 ponit over them” Harris Fomba Tarnue explained.
The Liberian educator averred that he then presented a strategy plan that would move BWI forward and he was able to achieve some making reference to the training of over 15 internal staffs internationally as the school has been going very progressively, steadily and uninterrupted but people have been working from their outside to ensure that his tenure of service ends.
The former BWI Principal boasted of being a proud person because he knows that he is walking into a bigger service for Liberia and BWI being one of those places that he has worked terming it as an open door for him to serve Liberia at a higher platform.
He added that he has no regret for any action he took while serving as Principal but the only thing he sees in life as a principle is that he regrets if he has to take an action and he doesn’t take it.
Mr. Tarnue however thanked former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for the opportunity given him to serve. He also thanked President George Manneh Weah for naming him as Principal and Secretary of the Board when he reconstituted it in September and at the same time assured the Board and the public that he will continue to contribute and identify with BWI.
When contacted, Assistant Education Minister Dominic D.N. Kweme denied the allegation of being one of those behind the removal of Mr. Tarnue.
Minister Kweme asserted that he represents the Minister of Education on the BWI Board of Governors and the Board took a decision that was signed (letter) by the Minister of Education with a resolution attached to.
He termed Tarnue’s allegation as unfounded stating, ‘maybe when people trying to gain attention they try to find something to hang on’.
It can be recalled that the Board through a resolution on Friday May 17, 2019 suspended and replaced Mr. Tarnue with the Industrial Coordinator of the Institution James W. Walker to act as Officer-In-Charge to safeguard the assets of the Institution pending the appointment of a new Principal.
The Board’s decision according to the resolution is based on the grievance committee’s reports which they said points to evidence of nepotism supported by the admission of the Principal, following a payroll review by the Board where multiple employees under the Principal’s supervision were found to be members of his family and that in some cases new positions were created to specifically accommodate those family members.
The Board of Governors in the document among others said the grievance committee report also concluded that the action of the Principal against some staff of the school, including a departmental head, which resulted into dismissal, demotions, cut in allowances and loss of housing were acts of retribution against those who spoke out at the fact-finding forum led by the Board and others who may have been perceived provide information to the Board.
Meanwhile, the decision of the Board of Governors has reportedly being supported by the Minister of Education, Professor Dao Ansu Sonii.