The Inquirer is a leading independent daily newspaper published in Liberia, based in Monrovia. It is privately owned with a "good reputation".

AME University Retiree Demands Benefit

BY Grace Q. Bryant

A retired employee of the African Methodist Episcopal University (AMEU) is demanding all of his benefits from the administration of the School. Edmund Chenoweth said, as per the discussion held on July 1, 2014, he was supposed to have be receiving a handshake allowance of US$5,000 and a monthly retirement benefit of USD 330 for life, not suspecting that a faith-based Christian institution would engage in any act of deception.
“When the final letter was brought to me requesting that me to urgently sign, I immediately signed only to find out that the monthly benefit had been changed from USD 330 to USD 181.43,” Chenoweth said.
“I immediately informed the administration, as in my thought it was an error, again hoping that as a Christian institution they would have realized it and have the moral rectitude to it correct but again I was wrong,” he stressed.
He added that during the pre-retirement discussion, he informed the AMEU administration that he had not taken vacation or annual recess and requested payment of accrued leave benefit in keeping with the provisions of the Labor Law of the Republic.
He emphasized that the Administration refused a conference and opted to go to trials instead and developed the strategy of delay to frustrate him, and “As if willfully changing the monthly pension amount as agreed upon and denying me payment for my accrued vacation benefit were not enough, my monthly pension for life was abruptly halted/ stopped on December 17, 2019 suddenly denying me of the income I depended on as a senior citizen.”
According to him, the Bishop and the AMEU based their reliance for stopping his pension on the Decent Work Act of 2015 and furthered that the government had changed its pension payment plan.
“This is quite untrue and it is plain that they were targeting certain folks; for instance, the Decent Work Act of 2015 is not retroactive and I was retired in 2014; yet they made me a victim ignoring the facts,” he added.
He explained that he wrote many communication but did not get the courtesy response and the only communication received was from the Bishop who backed their action saying that it was due to the fact that the government had changed the Retirement Payment Law which is untrue and baseless.
He continued that there were clarifications obtained from major government functionaries which have oversight, therefore the Bishop refused to give approval for the reversal of their decision and the president has admitted that they were wrong and was doing all he could to have it reversed.
“After 13 months, we have seen no effort to have it corrected, while we continue to suffer because of their illegal action,” he explained.
“I am bringing this to your attention and all human Rights Organizations because even though it may have labor, moral and ethical aspects yet, I feel that my human rights have been denied more and trampled upon willfully and internationally. I feel so hurt, aggrieved, injured and abandoned until all I think about now is going to the court of public opinion,” he said.
When contacted yesterday, an official in the Human Resource Department at the university declined to comment.

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