It is commonplace that international organizations would uphold best practices in every aspect of their operations particularly the treatment of employees in accordance with law. At Conservation International Liberia office, the reverse of that reality is being witnessed with the appointment of Mr. Peter Mulbah as Acting Country Director.
An investigation conducted by this paper found that four staff of the Conservation International (CI) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) jointly implemented Capacity Building Initiative for Transparency (CBIT) project were on August 3, 2020, issued an abrupt “termination of contract” letters under the sole signature of Mr. Mulbah, the Acting Country Director of CI without any reference to the organization’s implementing partner, the EPA.
According to the Acting CI Country Director, the four staff were relieved of their respective positions with immediate effect following the outcome of an investigation that found them liable of “dishonesty and misappropriation.”
“In the course of an investigation into misappropriation of funds intended for payment to staff of the various government ministries with which Conservation International (CI) works under the GEF CBIT Project, we have gathered credible evidence of your involvement into this misappropriation,” the CI Acting Country Director stated in the dismal letters.
Under the Liberian law and the Decent Work Act, it is only the Ministry of Justice and it’s Liberia National Police that are charged with the legal authority to investigate claims of criminal activities involving anyone regardless of where he or she finds himself or herself. But the Peter Mulbah led team at CI ascribed unto itself the position of investigator, judge and enforcer of the law.
When contacted via email regarding what our investigation had found, Mr. Mulbah said “Dear Editor: I can confirm that the four staff members are no longer employed by Conservation International-Liberia. Beyond that, Conservation International-Liberia does not comment on personnel matters. With thanks.”
He said Conservation International does not comment on personnel matters although it has criminal implications and he claimed to have conducted an investigation which found the affected staff guilty. The EPA, which is the prime representative of the Government of Liberia on the project was not copied in any of the letters.
This paper found out that there was no investigation conducted by the Acting Country Director of CI but he spoke three staff whose employment he personally influenced to say that whenever they sign for scratch cards and gas from the project heads, they [dismissed staff] would ask them for kickbacks although the dismissed staff are not directly connected to the disbursements.
To corroborate our findings, Mr. Mulbah has refused to make available copies of the investigation report he claimed to have conducted for which the four staff were dismissed.
The GEF CBIT project is a two-year initiative that cost more than US$2.8million.
During our investigation, it was established that Mr. Mulbah, with the consent of the former Country Director of Conservation International, Mrs. Jessica Donovan-Allen have been hiring his personal organization, the Skills and Agricultural Development Services (SADS) to implement projects for CI with disregard for conflict of interest which is a crime under the laws of Liberia as well as at Conservation International.
It is in this basis, that, according to our investigation, Mrs. Jessica Donovan-Allen pushed for Mr. Mulbah to act in her stead in order to avoid being caught red-handed in the event someone outside their circle gets the CI top position and institute an audit.
To strengthen their control of the GEF CBIT project, plans have started to be implemented to get rid of anyone who would stand in their way of their sinister desire to remotely control everything including funds.
Efforts go get words from Mr. Steven Acire, Director of Operations fell on deaf ears as his phone rang endlessly without response. Investigation continues.