Sierra Leone: Ebola Fund mismanaged - Auditor General

Freetown, Sierra Leone (PANA) - The Office of Sierra Leone's Auditor General has released a damning report on the management so far of the Ebola funds, showing how the Ministry of Health had little or no control over the disbursement of the funds.

According to the 80-page report which was released this week, the ministry "failed to produce any documentation for contract agreements that amounted to 17 billion Leones or US$3.8 million (including 12 billion Leones - US$2.7 million - for the purchase of 50 vehicles and ambulances and 2.7 billion Leones (US$614,000) for the construction of Port Look Treatment Centre) in the north of the country''.

The report also said the ministry failed to properly coordinate the Ebola sensitisation campaign and did not deduct 520 million Leones (US$118,000) and US$70,500 as withholding taxes.

PANA reports that the first sign that the Ebola funds were being tampered with came in November last year when the National Ebola Response Centre reported that it had discovered over 6,000 ghost workers on the payroll of hazard workers in the West Area alone.

That discovery and many other reports of corruption prompted the Auditor General's action .

Billions of Leones have being donated for Sierra Leone's Ebola response since the outbreak on May last year.

Most or all the funds, donated by multinationals, individuals and governments, were directly received by President Ernest Bai Koroma.

Sierra Leone has recorded the highest cases of the deadly virus, at over 10,934, among the three worst hit countries that included Guinea and Liberia.

The disease has killed over 9,000 people mostly in the three countries.
-0- PANA SBA/SEG 13Feb2015

13 february 2015 15:54:30

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