Tuesday, June 18, 2013 11:54
US$10.00 Missing From Police Salary?
Story by Alva M. Wolokolie
Regular budget hearing at the Capitol Building came to a scene of laughter when the Director of Police Col. Chris Massaquoi could not give account of US$10 increment allotted in the 2011/2012 fiscal budget for officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP).
At yesterday's hearing in the Richard R. Tolbert joint chambers, lawmakers represented on the Ways, Means, and Finance Committees requested the Police Director to disclose the salary of each police officer beginning from the lowest to the highest ranking personnell.
The lawmakers recalled that in the 2011/2012 National Budget, authorities at the LNP requested additional amount of Police salary from US$144 to US$154 which constitutes 10% increment but to their utmost surprise, the joint committees told the audience that they have received numerous complaints from the public and the officers themselves that the money shared out to them by the lawmakers was not given.
Col. Massaquoi who had gone to before the budget committee to defend the expenditure component of the 2012/2013 draft budget with a request that the LNP still needs more money for its operation and capacity building, also admitted that though the amount was approved but it was never received for disbursement to the gallant men and women of the LNP.
The Police boss tried to justify that incoming recruits were not reflected in the institution's 2011/2012 budget at the time so allotments were made in those areas.
But Col. Massaquoi quickly received a sharp reaction from the Chair on Ways, Means and Finance at the Lower House Rep. Emmanuel Nuquay the LNP previous request was to increase salary and not recruitments.
According to the Rep. Nuquay, the LNP authorities pleaded with Plenary to raise police officers' salary US$144 to US$154 which was approved by the 52nd National Legislature but it was unfortunate to realize that officers were denied such benefit of increment from the Liberian people.
Despite his justification that recruits may have gotten portion of the amount, the joint committees went into consultation and reached a decision that the Police Boss should go and come prepared to give a breakdown of the US$4.5m allotted to the LNP during the fiscal period of 2011/2012.
As the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) continues its gradual withdrawal, it is becoming eminent that the National Police will take charge of security in the country.
This will require appropriate budgetary allotment for the Liberia national police to make the force effective and efficient.
In the wake of these National challenges, Police Director Col. Massaquoi pointed out that despite its commitment to protecting lives and properties; the force needs the necessary logistics in order to carry out the task.
However, he called on the committee to augment the police budget that will enable the police to buy vehicles, uniforms, construct barracks, deports as well as communication equipment to render the force vigilant. Col. Massaquoi indicated that the materials will cover the 54 Districts in the country.