LIBERIA: New EPA Boss vouches to make Entity Second to none …declares Assets

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Upon taking over the helm of authorities of the Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia (EPA), Acting Executive Director, Dr. Emmanuel Urey Yarkpawol, has vouched to make entity second to none among other autonomous agencies of government in Liberia.

The EPA is to be the principal authority in Liberia responsible for the management of the environment including coordinating, monitoring, supervising and consulting with relevant stakeholders on all activities that have to do with protection of the environment and sustainable use of natural resources. The goal is to manage the resources of Liberia in a way that can benefit the current generation and future generations. To this end we are committed.

To do so, Dr. Yarkpawolo vowed to employ innovation and enforce existing policies, laws and regulations at the entity.

He stated that under his stewardship, employees’ welfare will be key to success at the EPA, stressing that part of this would be to ensure that people are properly placed based on qualifications.

The new EPA boss pointed that his leadership at the helm of the EPA will conduct a rigorous employees’ appraisals to identify key strengths and weaknesses.

“Findings from this exercise will enable us to reshuffle the staff ensuring proper placement. We will ensure that all employees have their just and rightful benefits (including salaries that commensurate with qualifications and nature of work) as mandated by the labor law of Liberia and other statutory laws,” said Dr. Yarkpawolo.

Touching on the controversial dismissal of employees by the immediate past administration under Professor Wilson K. Tarpeh, Dr. Yarkpawolo promised to set up a small committee to investigate circumstances leading to the action.

“We will act on the committee’s findings and recommendations to ensure fairness, transparency and accountability. The EPA is a regulator and therefore, it should be an integrity institution. This means that people who work here should have a very high level of integrity. We will therefore employ mechanisms that will ensure a high level of work ethics including coming to work on time, leaving from work on time and tracking employees work activities to ensure proper accountability.”

To ensure the full implementation of the Act creating the EPA, he said his administration will recommend to the President to constitute the National Environmental Policy Council and the EPA Board of directors.

“We will also ensure decentralization of the EPA both at the county and district levels. We will increase the revenues of the EPA by closing loopholes and enforcing the ESIA guidelines as well as other revenue generation capacities. The goal will be to make the EPA self-sufficient financially.”

“We will ensure open communication at the EPA. Few ways from now you will see two boxes. One will be labeled innovation box and the other will be labeled grievance box. We will encourage you to write anything that you see fit for the upliftment of the EPA and drop your ideas in the innovation box. Similarly, if you see something says something. Have you noticed corruption, is something not right, put your grievances in the grievance box. In both boxes, you do not have to write your name as we are more interested in the information than the giver of the information.”

At the same time, the EPA Executive Director has declared his assets valued at US$ 636,600.

The newly appointed Executive Director’s action is in accordance with Chapter 11, Article 90 of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia, and Section 10.1 of Liberia’s 2014 Code of Conduct, as amended with Provisions on the declaration of assets by all public officers in Liberia.

The EPA boss in a brief interaction with the media after the submission of his assets to the Liberia Anti-corruption Commission on Monday February 19, in Congo Town, said it was his way of being transparent and as well abiding by the Code of Conduct of the Republic of Liberia.

Dr. Yarkpawolo revealed his holdings, including five houses in Liberia and one in the United States of America , with a total asset value at $636,600.00 USD.

His annual income, sourced from various channels, stands at $157,187.00 USD.
He highlighted his commitment to the rule of law by disclosing a total liability of $349,355.00 USD, resulting in a net worth of $287,245.00 USD.

“Following the example of the President of Liberia, His Excellency Joseph Nuyma Boakai, I have just declared my assets in fulfillment of the Code of Conduct. I am making my assets available to the general public through the media,” he said .

Dr. Yarkpawolo lay emphasizes on the importance of enforcement of the rule of laws, citing Aristotle’s perspective on the rule of law as fundamental to societal development.

“Aristotle said “At his best, man is the noblest of all animals” but if you separate man from the rule of law, which is the bedrock of justice, man is not only the worst, but he destroys society. This is why adherence to the rule of law and the enforcement of law are fundamental to the development of any human society. We do not have to go to the Moon to see examples of how enforcement of the rule laws changes societies. One major difference between nations that are considered “developed” and nations that are “underdeveloped” is the enforcement of laws. Developed nations enforce their laws and underdeveloped nations do not enforce their laws and if they do, they do it partially. In fact what underpins underdevelopment is the lack of the enforcement of the rule of laws.

DR. Yarkpawolo stressed the role of law enforcement in differentiating between developed and underdeveloped countries. “We do not have to go to the Moon to see examples of how enforcement of the rule laws change societies,” Dr. Yarkpawolo remarked, underlining the pivotal role played by adherence to the rule of law in societal progress.

He called on Liberians to “Think Liberia, Love Liberia, Build Liberia” resonates with a vision of a better Liberia, citing that government is a place to serve and not to steal.

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