07/19/2010 – Mae Azango
Source: FrontPage Africa
The acting Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Mr. Thomas Romeo Quioh has expressed that there is some level of cooperation from the employees since he took over as head of institution two months ago.
During his first press briefing since he took Office, over the weekend, Mr. Quioh disclose that upon his arrival at the EPA, there was tension among many employees who were at logger heads since the passing of two Executive Directors in less than two years.
“When I got here, many employees were not speaking to one another, they used to come to work with lime and nut oil in their pockets and bags, thinking that would save them from witchcraft, which they believed was being practiced at the EPA allegedly leading to the death of two former Executive Directors.
“We have created a sense of homonym among the employees and have given them hope of allocating allowances for them in our budget. “We have begun unifying employees and are giving them hope with commitment to console them.”
Asked to weather he was afraid to be head of EPA based in the wake of rumors of witchcraft being practiced henceforth, leading to the death of two Executive directors, he answered:
“Anybody would be afraid in situation like this, but I also believe that it was their time and not any other cause, I don’t believe that it has anything to do with witch craft activities because I don’t believe that it exist in the first place.
‘Only believe in God’
Though not believing in witchcraft activities, Mr. Quioh admitted that he is not presently occupying the office in which his predecessors used, neither was he using the office of the former Acting Executive Director, but he is in an office he created since his arrival at the EPA.
“I don’t believe witchcraft do exist, I only believe in God, that is why I brought a pastor to pray for the office before I took over, but I did go seek help from those who would promise protection and tell you ‘if God agrees’ I have decided not to use the office of the former Executive Directors, neither am I using the office of the former Acting Director, but I have fix another place I would use”
Listing some of the challenges facing the EPA, Acting Director Quioh disclosed that though the EPA is operating in 10 of the fifteen Counties in the Country, Montesrrado County has only four inspectors which are not enough.
“There are only four inspectors assigned in the whole of Monrovia, and that number is not enough, but we are hoping by next month, we would be able to recruit and train 75 environmental inspectors to increase the man power to assign them to different locations in the Country.”
Addressing the issue of salaries and allowances, Quioh indicated that EPA is one of the lowest paying entities in the Country. Not calling the figures allocated in the budget for the institution, he noted: “If you see what is allocated in the budget for EPA, you won’t believe it. We are one of the lowest paying agencies in the Country but we are trying to create the provision of a little allowance for employees with what budgetary allotment we have. We do hope the government will increase our allotment in the next fiscal budget.”
On the issue of changes at the EPA, Mr. Quioh indicated that they have carried out some administrative changes to engender some level of institution. “Additionally the exercise is intended to bring about some motivation to the staff, by promoting those we feel needed to be given the opportunity to perform instead of bringing people from outside of the system.
Addressing the situation erosion in most part of the City, Mr. Quioh pointed out: “Regrettably, we heard about the PHP situation. We are sorry for this situation which our people had to leave their homes. We have observed that these situations are occurred as a result of unauthorized sand mining. We are advising our people to only mine sand from areas that are authorized by the Ministry of Lands Mines and Energy to avoid these situations in the future.”
The EPA boss disclosed that his institution will plant trees along the SKD Boulevard on July 21st to beatified the Community and at the same time create awareness for the protection of the wetland.
The EPA in less than two years has come under two tragic situations when two of its Executive Directors died after brief ailment that led to the rumor that the institution was being bewitched by some unknown employees who wanted the position of being Executive Director of the entity.
Mr. Ben Doni who died a week after a brief Aliment, was replaced by Mr. Alfred Armah who died six months after he arrived from USA to take over as Executive Director of EPA. The post of the Executive Director has been empty since then, until President Ellen Johnson -Sirleaf appointed Mr. Thomas Romeo Quioh to head the institution. There are talks in the corridors of the institution that employees still fear that something could also happen to Mr. Quioh as have happened to their two bosses. Employees were said to have been carrying lime and nut oil to work in order to rub before and after shaking hands with anyone working in the building.
The new Acting Director once upon his arrival at the EPA, warned employees against bringing limes and other things to fight witchcraft activities in the building because it did not exist, and if they disobeyed his orders, they would answer to him.