Home Governance US Based Research Institute Reports Security Risks …On EPS Officers’ Dismissal

US Based Research Institute Reports Security Risks …On EPS Officers’ Dismissal

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MONROVIA: Latest report, published by a United States based Non-Governmental and Research Organization (NGO), indicates that the new government of Liberia fears a possible coup by dismissed officers of the elite Executive Protection Service (EPS) because of their loyalty to ex-President George Weah.

 The Report, published on the website of the NGO, styled: Robert Lansing Instituted indicated that “It’s likely that the new EPS Director, Sam Gaye, tries to clear its staffs from unloyal officers to, and increase loyalty level of …this structure and save his position.”

“However, we think his steps will unite opponents of President Joseph Boakai in armed forces, police and other military bodies,” the Research group, said it its Report. 

Approximately 200 officers of the Executive Protection Service (EPS) are reported to be facing termination under the directive of the new Director, Sam Gaye.

Allegations suggest that these personnel are being let go due to their perceived loyalty to former President George Manneh Weah.

Other sources at the Executive Mansion hinted this  paper the officers in question were not employed with the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs but a contractors who earning more money than regular EPS officers employed by the State.

However, the co-chairman on the Lower House Committee of National Defense, Montserrado County Representative Yekeh Kolubah, has called on the Executive to re-employ the dismissed trained security agents (officers) of the Executive Protection Service (EPS), arguing they were trained with the country’s taxpayers’ money.

In March this year, EPS Director Gaye told former President Weah to hire private security if he feels insecure and wants additional security bodyguards.

 Weah is the first former President who has received the highest number of bodyguards, though the leadership of the elite security force refused to reveal the total number of officers assigned to the former President.

 The EPS stated that there is no law mandating that EPS to provide bodyguards for former Presidents, former vice Presidents, etc., but it has been a longstanding tradition that the incumbent President usually authorizes security protection for those who had occupied the office before him or her.

According to the Report of the US based group, captioned: “Cleansing In EPS Signals About Possible Coup Risks In Liberia,” Director Sam Gaye has defended the terminations, stating that the aim is not a witch-hunt but rather to ensure the professionalism and adequacy of the EPS staff.

 Gaye emphasized the importance of having well-trained and qualified individuals in the EPS, pointing out that the General Auditing Commission (GAC) had also raised concerns about the qualifications of some officers during an audit.

“Those who were deemed unqualified to provide VIP protection will be removed. And those we have vetted and declared qualified will be retained and sent for training at the police academy. We want to be fair and transparent. This is not a witch hunt,” the Report quoted Director Gaye as saying.

Gaye highlighted that individuals who do not meet the necessary standards for VIP protection are being removed to enhance the effectiveness and credibility of the EPS.

According to information from EPS sources, there have been concerns about the recruitment practices under the previous administration, criticizing the lack of thorough background checks, training, and educational requirements for personnel.

According to the Research Group’s Report, during a recent incident on Thursday, April 18th  where some dismissed officers of the EPS engaged with the Liberia National Police, a tense situation arose when the officers resisted disarmament, citing grievances over unpaid benefits and disputing the legitimacy of their dismissals. The police managed to detain three of the officers involved.

The situation remains tense as the dismissed officers expressed their discontent, seeking intervention from House Speaker Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa.

 In the midst of these developments, the Human Resource Officer of the EPS has reportedly resigned, citing being pressured to sign dismissal letters against his will, the Report added.

Some of the officers who have been dismissed believe their dismissal is a witch-hunt and a disservice to them based on perception because Gaye doesn’t know on which side their interests had been centered, even though they could not show up due to their ethics.

EPS claims that almost all the agents who were terminated have not reported to work since January 2024. The Report further asserted that information received by the EPS indicates most of them have left the country.

Some of the officers are reportedly in possession of weapons and have maintained that if proper reasons are not given for their termination, the EPS should stand ready to face them or pay for damages the current leadership has created for them morally, psychologically, and financially, according to the group’s Report.

Unless these issues are addressed timely, the officers said they will remain unwilling to turn over weapons in their possession.

Some of the dismissed officers claim they are college graduates but were being classified as George Weah children, the Research group reported.

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