LIBERIA: ‘Too Much Noise At EPA’ …NCSCL wants President Boakai constitute BoD to ease Tension

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Amid continuing tension at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Civil Society Council of Liberia has recommended to President Joseph Nyuma Boakai to quickly move in constituting the Board of Directors, who will provide direction and advise him on the way forward.

Since the takeover of the Unity Party (UP)- led Government, , there have been continuing noises on the compound of the EPA as workers of the entity continuously agitating the resignation of the Executive Director Prof. Wilson Tarpeh, who has in turn resisted on grounds that he is serving a tenure position.

It can be recalled that sometimes last week, the Administrative Manager of the entity, Joseph Doles filed a complaint in court for “felonious restraint,” stating that the staffers prevented the EPA Executive Director from accessing the compound of the institution.

Mr. Doles in his writ said the workers’ intent has exposed the institution’s executive director to a condition of involuntary servitude.

However, Andrew Cooper, Account Analyst, minutes after their release from the Monrovia City Court, defended the employees’ action on grounds that the institution wants the Executive Director to relinquish his position as it is not a tenure position.

According to him, Prof. Tarpeh wants to forcibly claim a tenure position that was not given during his appointment which was not sanctioned by the institution’s National Policy Council as required by law, to render his appointment to be one of tenure

He further said that count 16 of the Act that created the EPA grants the Executive Director a tenure position provided he meets the fundamental formulation of being recommended by the board to the president for appointments.

These claims and counterclaims continued on Monday, February 5, 2024, thus prompting the CSO Council to call on President Boakai to act fast in the constitution of the Board of Directors in line with the Act that created the entity in 2002.

Section 12 of the Act states that: “There shall be a body called the Board of Directors of the Agency, which shall be the supervisory body of the Agency, in this Act referred to as the “Board.”

The Act furthers that the Board Directors shall be appointed by the President subject to the advice of the Policy Council; and consist of a Chairman, Vice Chairman and seven other members and that members of the Board, except those appointed from Line Ministries, shall serve for a period of five years and shall be eligible for re-appointment for a further term. It also states that the Executive Director of the Agency shall serve as secretary to the Board.

Functions of the Board include: to oversee the implementation and successful operation of environmental policy and functions of the Agency; to interpret policies, review and approve the Agency’s strategic plans for implementation of the policies; to provide guidance to the Executive Director and the Staff of the Agency; and to approve the annual budget of the Agency and advocate for State budget allocation for the agency.

Other functions include: to solicit funding and approve the investment and expenditures of any grant, donations and the funds established under the Act; to monitor and evaluate the performance of the Agency against budgets and plans; to establish and approve rules and procedures for the appointment, discipline, termination and terms and conditions of service of staff, administrative matters and financial matters; to determine and approve such expenses and allowances for the Councils and Committees established under this Act; comply with directives from the Policy Council; and to undertake any other duties assigned to it by this Act.

Accordingly, the Council in a brief interview with reporters following the latest disturbance on Monday, the Chairperson of the NCSCL Madam Loretta Alethea Pope-Kai, indicated that only the constitution of the Board will bring these problems to an end

“We are calling on the President to quickly move to constitute the Board of the EPA, because it’s the Board that will provide direction and to advise on whatever necessary policy action to taken. So it’s our appeal to our President, because we think this is the way to go,” said Madam Pope-Kai.

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