Plenary, which is the highest decision making body of the Liberian Senate, took the decision on the last day sitting of the 4th session of the 54th Legislature following a majority “YEA” votes.
Votes were taken on the heel of a motion filed by Sinoe County Senator, J. Milton Teahjay following the reading of a communication by River Cess County Senator, Wellington Geevon-Smith, in which he (Geevon-Smith) brought to the attention of that august body to investigate the alleged act of the bank.
According to Sen. Geevon-Smith’s communication, the bank has for the last four years been deducting US$5 and L$500 from each employee’s salary.
“With compliments I write to bring to the attention of the Liberian Senate, for investigation, the unilateral decision of the management of the River Cess County Branch of Afriland First Bank to make two separate deductions monthly from both the Liberian and US Dollars salaries of government’s employee’s salary,” said the communication.
“Government of Liberia pays its employees salary with 80% in Liberian Dollar and 20% in US Dollar. It will interest you to know that the River Cess County Branch of Afriland First Bank (from 2015), has been has for the last been deducting five hundred Liberian Dollars (L$500.00) from the Liberian Dollar segment and five United States Dollars (US$5.00) from the US Dollar segment of each employee’s salary,” he stated.
According to him, the bank is serving as an agent of the Liberian government in delivering the salaries of government’s employees in the county, and as such, it is the government that is supposed to pay the bank and not the employees for the service delivered.
“On the contrary, what is obtaining in River Cess County is a strange banking practice because under normal banking practice, it is the person or institution that issues the cheque pays the service charge and not the receiver of the cash,” he stated.
“My distinguished colleagues, I appeal to this August body to launch a full scale investigation of the robbery against government’s employees in River Cess County. The Senate should ensure a full restitution of every penny Afriland First Bank deducted from the government’s employees for the past six years,” the communication added.
Meanwhile, following the reading and subsequent motion, Plenary unanimously voted for the bank to be investigated by its statutory committees and report back to it upon the January 2022 reopening.