By Mark Megonfia, [email protected]
The Stage Media (TSM) investigation has revealed that recruited officers of the Executive Protection Services (EPS), who were reportedly recruited from the Sabu Unit of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) are poised to carry out a wide cat protest over low salary payments.
EPS is the elite security group while the Sabu Unit is a pro-government support security group.
TSM source said the planned protest is a result of officers’ disenchantment over salary payments who have tried to get redress but failed.
Currently, the budget of the EPS has increased from US$7million to 10.4 million according to the 2022 budget year, but officers are still being paid underpaid according to the source.
“Those agitating EPS officers are all firearms carriers. They were conscripted on the 20th of September 2020 with the assurance that they were serving their probation after which they are going to get their full salary, but since then, they are yet to be paid as the others are being paid 500 and more,” TSM source said.
Their point of contention is that they have been employed but receiving the sum of US$200.00 and when taxes are deducted, it drops to 120.00 or 106.00 which according to them is nothing for officers who are providing security for top government officers and others as well as visiting guests.
The source hinted that although the EPS officers are not receiving their just pay and benefits due them, however, there is still employment daily.
According to our source, “the point that needs attention is that over a hundred EPS officers who are contending were halfway trained by the EPS authority.
They reportedly did not drill in Police Science or VIP Protection, but only firearm training.
“Look, I am telling you the reality. This is just one of the things that are happening in the EPS.”
“Call any of those who are working there and those in leadership about this information and hear what they will tell you,” the source said.
Other officers who spoke on anonymity said “The information about our salary is true, but the nature of work we do, does not allow us to protest,”
The officer said, “The work we do is to give protection to the president, important visitors to Liberia, and high-ups in the Liberian government which required a good salary but sadly, it is not so.
To verify the information Trokon Roberts, head of the EPS via phone promised to check and take necessary action.
“Thank you very much, but I have not heard that…. I will check and find out and take the appropriate actions” Robert said.
According to him the most ethical thing any officer can do is to engage their authority when they are dissatisfied with issues affecting them.
The conversation with the EPS boss was friendly but took an ash twist when he was asked about those officers who earn US$200.
“Listen to me, this is not an interview. I respected you when you called so when you want me to respond, you have to come to my office,” Robert said.
“Call me in two hours because I am in a meeting now,” he said before switching off.
After two hours, a call was placed to Mr. Roberts at which time he was on another call.
A message was placed to him on his orange number via text and WhatsApp, but he did not respond.
The message said, “Greetings, Mr. Roberts. You told me to call you in two hours for you to speak to mixed feelings about salary at the EPS involving some 100 plus officers.
I did call but it says you were on a call. I want to get the side of the EPS authorities about the allegations of some EPS members who are planning a wide cat protest.
According to information, I have gathered, since about two years ago they were recruited, their pay has been US$200.00 and when taxes are deducted, the balance is 106 which they said is far below what they should be getting as officers who provide security for the president.
May I please call to get an audience with you or if possible let me call you for an interview. – Regards, Mengonfia.”
It has been five days since this message was sent to Roberts, but he did not respond to our inquiry nor referred us to the institution’s public relations officer.
Investigation into the EPS continues.