By Necus M. Andrews
A number of leaked documents from the Liberia News Agency (LINA) are linking the institution’s Director General, Jay Nagbe Sloh to various alleged financial malpractices. But Mr. Sloh has told this paper to publish whatever it has.
The documents showed that Sloh is still maintaining the names of individuals, who have died, retired and resigned on the institution’s payroll.
The documents further revealed that the Liberia News Agency through the directive of Mr. Sloh has sacked 13 of the 15 LINA correspondents, but these correspondents names have remained on the payroll for nearly three years now. Mr. Sloh is contesting for a representative seat on the Unity Party ticket in district # 2, Sinoe County.
The issue of salary disparity is one issue discovered in the documents, where Mr. Sloh is paying his paying his Chief of Office Staff more than a senior reporter at LINA.
But Mr. Sloh has reacted to the allegation and said the press should publish whatever information on him from the leaked documents.
In a telephone conversation Tuesday, the tough talking LINA boss told this paper “publish all what you have on me, and tell the people accusing me ‘F….’ them.”
Mr. Sloh, who initially answered his phone with different name, began to quiz our reporter in this form: “Who give you my number? What is your name and which institution you say you work for and he later switched off his phone.”
In June 2016, Mr. Sloh allegedly directed his News Editor, Mr. Joseph G. Toe to inform LINA’s county correspondents that as of July 1, 2016, the Agency will no longer maintain them due to financial constraints.
A letter addressed to Mr. Sloh by some of the affected county correspondents, said since they were informed that their services were no longer needed, Sloh still kept their names on the payroll without their consent.
Dated June 8, 2017, the concerned correspondents told the LINA Director that: “Prior to this at the very beginning of your takeover, we were officially written that on a monthly basis, each county correspondent will receive One Hundred and Fifty United States Dollars as remuneration, whereas the payroll sent to the Ministry of Finance carries Three Hundred United States Dollars which we do not receive.”
“We also received a second communication from your Editor In-Chief, Peter T. Kahler that the Liberia News Agency was recruiting us as correspondents commencing January 2, 2014 via a performance based project under the Ministry of Information, Cultural and Tourism under a condition that we produce at least one story per day and we will be paid US$10 as remuneration. However, the above issues indicated in the January 2, 2014 letter were never implemented and we were dropped from the remuneration roster, yet our names continue to be reflected on all of your listing sent to the Ministry of Finance for payment,” the correspondents claimed.
The leaked documents also revealed that LINA’s payroll is flooded with ghost names as of February 2017, with the names of Mr. H. Vasco Wiagbe, who died in 2015, Mr. Richard Stephens, who is in the United States of America on a DV program and Mr. John Bropleh, who has since been retired.
The February 2017 payroll carries US$400 for Mr. Vasco Wiagbe as Senior Reporter, US$400 for Richard Stephens as Senior Reporter and US$300 for John Bropleh as County Correspondent for Grand Kru County.
The Liberia News Agency (LINA) was established in 1979 as part of a comprehensive communication policy that sought to harness the information arm of the Liberian Government to build a viable, united, and cohesive nation-state. LINA operated in the unique role of mobilizing the citizens for nation-building, economic and social development, national unity and integration.