There is still uncertainty on when the Executive Protection Service (EPS) mutual aid will settle as the body that protects the elites continue to struggle.
The aid money was an issue of contention months ago when The Stage Media(TSM) reported that it is brewing mixed feelings among armed EPS officers.
Sources said, “The mutual aid has landed to zero, and the salary disparity is still high.”
The informer furthered that after the tension of the low salary, the administration started paying the over 100 officers the sum of five- hundred United States Dollars (US$500).
“What is not paid is the back-pay,” blame the source placed at the feet of EPS authorities.
“We were informed that the Ministry of Finance has approved the officer’s back pay, but the money has landed in the hands of the EPS boss, and he is yet to pay the officers,” the informer added.
“The EPS bossTrokon Roberts, has lost complete control of the EPS.
The EPS does not take salary on time, and the EPS officers are the presumably the most broke in the Republic of Liberia, thereby putting the President’s life at risk and even other VIPs that should visit the country,” the source added.
The source added, “corruption is very hard within the EPS; the officers are disenchanted, security are people who should be satisfied to give complete protection to the President and VIPs, but this is not the case at the level of EPS. Dissatisfaction in the security sector poses a severe risk to the elites.”
The EPS officer described the mutual aid saga “ as being a player and at the same time being the referee.
“Those who should have ensured that the right things are done are the ones in the main corrupt act.”
The Land Game
There was an agreement that the land acquired using some of the ESP officers’ mutual aid fund would be for sale, and the money returned to the institution’s account for final disbursement in December of this year.
During an interview on July 19, 2022, Philip Moore, EPS Media Officer, told TSM that over half of the land was already purchased.
But, contrary to his statement, our informer said, “Currently, there are no defined statements about the land some of the EPS officers bought using some of the funds from the aid money.”
Some of the demands made among officers of the EPS are: The land issue is settled, and those who bought part of the land get their proper documents.
The Remaining 30% of the mutual aid plus all of the interest accumulated from the money be provided to them (EPS Officers).
Salaries should be on time, and their benefits and incentives as presidential bodyguards are paid.
2022 has ended, and the remaining 30% of the mutual aid is yet to be paid.
One of the critical issues the officers raised was the insurance benefit that could serve them better.
“Every day, our bosses distribute ten medical slips to officers of the force, and if those ten slips are covered, even if someone is dying from any of us and that person wants insurance to cover the hospital bill, they will have to wait for the next day.
That is a terrible law which was even forced on us,” the source added.
Captain Jerry Kollie is a former member of the Armed Forces of Liberia.
He served as a trained Special Anti-terrorist Unit (SATU), a special force organized during the regime of Samuel K. Doe to protect him—- Samuel K. Doe, Liberia’s 21st President, was killed in a 1990 coup d’etat.
Africa as a continent has seen a significant increase in coups.
At least the 54 countries of the continent have, one way or the other experienced one coup attempt since 1950, according to data collected by Powell and Thyne.
Counting back in those days, the former trained security officer to the killed President Doe, Captain Kollie, said, “ The EPS are the last people who should be dissatisfied over salary or other benefits.”
He thinks those people should be treated with care because the president’s life relaxes on their shoulders.
In time past, the former head of the disbanded Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) Soldiers said, “They took care of us.”
“I was making US$250 those days; that was a god amount back in those days and it was paid on time. We were like the first family.”
Kollie He said the EPS salary and other benefits should be a top priority to the government, mainly the President of Liberia, because they have direct and very close connections to him (President Weah).
According to Captain Kollie, for the EPS to turn more political than security poses serious security threats to the lives of the President, other dignitaries, and even the state.
“The EPS director should make sure that those people benefits come on time, their benefits are not taken for granted because these are people who open doors for the President and if they are left vulnerable, it is a serious threat to society,” the former trained Special Anti Terrorist Unit (SATU ) said via a telephone interview.
Until now, the EPS authorities have yet to respond to requests for an interview with them, although WhatsApp messages show that they have seen those messages sent between September 1 and December 29, 2022.