RECENTLY, THE UNITED States Government through its Embassy near Monrovia announced the arrival of a team to conduct a routine audit of grants made by the U. S. through the United States Aid for International Development (USAID) Ebola Disaster Assistance Response Team to non-governmental partners for the Ebola response.
ACCORDING TO A U.S. Embassy release, such audits are routine and are conducted periodically to monitor and evaluate the U.S, Government’s programs in the field and to make recommendations on program quality. The release further noted that this is not a financial investigation, and that the team’s visit has no relation whatsoever to the Government of Liberia’s actions for the Ebola response.
IT IS PRUDENT that whenever huge expenditures are made, such efforts must be followed by an audit which would accordingly establish the authenticity of funds used and subsequently create a lead to what surpluses are there or what needs to be done ensuring that future expenditures are carried out in line with international best practice or internationally accepted norms. Such an audit also gives clue to future endeavors, be it developmental or for other projects.
FOR BEST PRACTICE the world over, it is also good to establish what has been spent; what is available and how more funds can be pumped to an outbreak such as the Ebola epidemic that devastated Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea and consumed huge amount of financial resources from the governments of the three affected countries, the United Nations (UN) system, friendly governments and other donor agencies.
AS WE CONTINUE the count-down to ensuring that Liberia is Ebola free, it is now inescapable for the Government of Liberia (GOL) to initiate an audit similar to that of the U.S. Government in a bid to determine how resources were used in the fight against the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). The GOL must without delay deploy local or external auditors to determine the level at which resources made available to the government as well as its own merger resources were expended in the Ebola fight.
THIS WILL NOT only be established if resources are still available or depleted but such an endeavor will also ensure the process of accountability, transparency and most especially point out that Liberia having fought Ebola in a drastic way subscribe to best practice that can stimulate more international attention and support.
AS WE ARE already hearing claims and counter claims of the usage of Ebola fund, the Government of Liberia must now follow the example of the United States Government by commissioning an audit that will establish whether funds and other resources set aside to fight Ebola were properly used or put into the personal use of some individuals taking into account the pledges by some top government officials that “anyone caught eating Ebola Money will be prosecuted.”
IT IS ONLY through a forensic audit of all Ebola accounts including donations made by friendly governments, the business community and all of Liberia’s partners that one can determine whether these resources were genuinely used.