L$2m Scandal Uncover At Disaster Agency – NDMA’s Executive Director Implicated
With the country’s struggling economy, the Executive Director Henry O. Williams and some top officials of the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) have been caught in a serious financial scandal and disbursing little over L$2 million to thirty(30) out of sixty-one (61) employees in the name of overtime.
Since the information about the financial scandal at the NDMA, authorities are struggling to speak on the alleged illegal disbursement of the huge sum of Liberian and United States Dollars among some of its employees.
Our investigation has discovered that about thirty (30) out of the over sixty-one (61) employees benefited from the money that was allegedly distributed by the Executive Director Henry O. Williams, the Deputy Director for Administration, Ahmed Sheriff and the financial controller of the entity.
It has been revealed that during the money feast, some of the employees at the NDMA received extra monies in their account for what management described as overtime which according to information was never approved by the Deputy Director for Operation who is the second person in command.
Documents in our possession of The Monrovia Times have shown that the money was distributed according to their portfolio with some getting LD$162,000.00, LD$150, 000.00, LD$100,000.00, while others at the senior management level got LD250, 000.
The documents further disclosed that the overtime covered the months of June and July and the total of US$8,943.13 was distributed while the Liberian dollars component constituted LD$1,687,395.09.
Some employees became shocked at the NDMA when employees who got shares of the overtime were notified through a memo by the Executive Director Henry O. Williams to withdraw the money from their various accounts and turn the money over to the Deputy Executive Director.
The memo dated August 7, 2019 reads, “All employees that observe that you have extra money in your account please withdraw amount and give to the Deputy for Operation,” the memo concludes.
The memo which was written in blue ink sparked serious debate about the source of the money and what said money was intended for but to their surprise, many of the employees who benefited from the overtime could not justify how they got paid for such overtime.
In an interview with an employee at the NDMA who spoke on anonymity disclosed “For me I am not giving that particular money back because he use us to get it from wherever he got it from, he lied to the donors that we work overtime and the people send the money in our account then he want us withdraw it and give it to him.”
According to sources the Executive Director of the NDMA, Henry O. Williams has been accused of collecting the money and using it for his personal business something which sparked serious concerns among staffers at the entity.
At about 10:00am to 12:00 noon working days, employees were taken by surprise when their purported overtime amount started hitting their accounts but some of those who did not receive the money intensify their demand for justification of the acquisition and distribution of the money, Director Williams immediately instructed his Deputy for Operations who was not in the know to take seize of the situation and collect the money.
Upon his (Williams) request, Mr. Augustine F. Tamba, Deputy Director for Operations issued a directive-putting freeze on the usage of the money after which it was discovered the some of those who got the money had already spent it.
“Based on a note in my possession from the Executive Director, Hon. Henry O. Williams, dated August 7, 2019, instructing staffers who have observed extra money from the 2nd to 7th August 2019, in their accounts to withdraw and pay same to me, I hereby instruct all those concerned to put a halt to withdrawing the money and freeze usage of said amount from their accounts as further instigation is ongoing to ascertain the justification of the acquisition and subsequent distribution of the amounts to staffers accounts in the name of Overtime”, the memo said.
It is not clear whether the Human Resource Director, Boakai Sirleaf and the Deputy for Operations, Tamba approved the listing for appropriating overtime to employees, but sources say the comptroller, Mr. Rolando Woheel, and Mr. Ahmed B. Sheriff, the Deputy Director for Administration, along with the Executive Director are the key architects that manipulated and crafted listing before the money was distributed.
“Overtime is a normal practice in government cycle, but the manipulation of the listing for the benefit of a few confidants is an unacceptable act”, a senior government official from labor ministry said.
It can be recalled that the Chair of the Senate Committee on Public Enterprise and Autonomous Agencies, Senator J. Milton Teajay had accused NDMA leadership of massive corruption and deceptive patronage at the NDMA.
Senator Teajay who is considered a champion of the passage of the disaster management act which established the NDMA in 2016, made the comments during an ECOWAS sponsored Disaster Management training at the TM Mall in Mamba Point area in June of this year.
Senator Teajay threatened to withhold NDMA’s 2019/2020 budget until the issue of corruption at the NDMA was curbed or the leadership changed.
An investigation by The Monrovia Times has also shown that Mr. Williams awarded an International scholarship to Ms. Cynthia Davis who was dismissed for what was termed as double-dipping from the government.
Ms. Davis was booked for receiving double salaries from the National Public Health Institute and the NDMA whilst doing a full-time job with the ECOWAS Secretariat.
It has been reliably learned that Ms. Davis dismissal letter was withdrawn by Mr. Henry O. Williams at which time he succeeded in changing the content of the letter to enable her benefit from a Japanese government scholarship intended to enable staff of the NDMA obtain a Master in Disaster Management. Investigation Continues.