- Incentive payments for frontline health workers totalled Le26 billion, but there was no substantive proof given to the auditors that such payments reached intended recipients.
- In Makeni Government Hospital the frontline healthcare workers incentive payment list was found to include 271 ghost names. Payments totalling Le216m remain unaccounted for.
- MoHS failed to produce any documentation for contract agreements totalling Le17 billion, including Le12.7 billion for the purchase of 50 vehicles and ambulances and Le2.7 billion for the construction of an Ebola treatment centre in the northern district of Port Loko.
- Withholding taxes amounting to Le526 million were not deducted and paid over to the National Revenue Authority from payments made to various suppliers and contractors.
- A contract for 20 ambulances was signed between MoHS and Kingdom Security Logistics. However, payment for the ambulances was made to a United Arab Emirates bank account in the name of Uniworld General Trading LLC. Four of the ambulances have still not been supplied.
- MoHS required bidders for medical supplies contracts to submit a Pharmacy Board License/Registration with their documentation. A US$4m contract was awarded to Ramesco even though the company did not submit the requisite license.
The Office of the President released a statement responding to the report: “Government notes the ongoing public interest concerning the Auditor-General’s report…..as the law provides, parliament will debate the audit report and make appropriate recommendations on the issues raised therein…..Government attaches paramount importance to the judicious use of the Ebola funds and will ensure proper accountability for the use of these funds……those who are found guilty of misusing Ebola funds will face the full force of the law”.
- The opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) has called on the Government to launch “a public inquiry into the audit report and the management of the national fight of the Ebola Virus Disease since May 2014 to present and to bring all wrong doers to book”.
- A report in the Sierra Leone Telegraph speculates that “the complex web of Ebola corruption in Sierra Leone – presided over by State House in Freetown, may take several years to unravel – if at all”.
- Swit Salone provides details of the five biggest Ebola deals and questions the transparency of the contractors.
- The Citizens Campaign for Accountability and Justice have called for an urgent probe into the audit by the Anti-Corruption Commission.
- Sierra Leonean Alie Kabba, executive director at United African Organization, wrote in an open letter to the President Koroma: “To think that your government presided over such ignoble corruption with money that should have gone to the Ebola response is a depressing day indeed for our country”.
On 17 February, Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Commission issued a public notice calling on 40 named individuals, institutions and companies to report to its offices. All District Medical Officers will be summoned at a later date."
We await where the money trail leads in what is clearly a dubious exercise and we would urge investigators to rope in UNIWORLD GENERAL TRADING LLC to appear before them so we can know into whose accounts the funds finally landed in what appears to be a case of money laundering.
Meanwhile a Sierra Leonean who worked with children orphaned by Ebola has died of the disease himself.
Augustine Baker was with the St George Foundation Orphanage and was admitted to an Ebola treatment centre after becoming ill and succumbed to the disease. A week or so later, his wife Baindu also died of the disease leaving their two children orphans.
Thirty-three children and seven staff at the St George Foundation orphanage have been in quarantine since Mr Baker was diagnosed with the deadly virus. A report on the website of the orphanage says they are now out of quarantine and are doing well.
Not a word on the passing away of Augustine Baker and his wife was heard from the rat and his cabal.