On Reported Misuse Of Ebola Funds: Dillion Takes Issue With Ellen

By Timothy T. Seaklon

Political activist Darius Dillon has taken issues with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf relative to her recent utterance on the General Auditing Commission (GAC) just completed audit of funds allotted to fight the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).   Recently the GAC following a comprehensive audit of Ebola funds found several government agencies and officials responsible for the misapplication of funds allotted by the Government of Liberia (GOL) to fight against the Ebola virus.

But in a chat with the media on Monday in Monrovia, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said there were some procedural errors and further noted that the GAC Audit Report has not been finalized, a statement many political observers believe was made to kill the report before it could reach its destination.

However, in an interview with the INQUIRER yesterday afternoon, activist Dillon said he was originally of the view that President Sirleaf could go a step further in urging for the speedy implementation of the report by dragging those linked to misappropriation to account for said funds.

Mr. Dillon said instead the President’s statement was made to render the work of the GAC useless, saying, “We as a government especially the President should stop making statement that will always kill the relevance of anti-graft institutions such as the GAC and the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC).”

Mr. Dillon said when people misapplied Ebola money at a time when thousands of Liberians were dying of the Ebola disease and other related illnesses, it should not be the President who should be talking about procedures.

Mr. Dillon noted that even though at such an emergency time, one could not wait for the Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC) procedures in acquiring some materials but was quick to observe that the President should encourage those accused in the report to clear their names instead of talking about procedural errors.

Mr. Dillon, one of the stalwart of the opposition Liberty Party (LP) said the issue raised by the GAC that the Ministry of Health bought seven Yamaha generators at the cost of US$1,000 each and gave same to the Liberia National Police (LNP) who claimed to have distributed those generators to seven counties only for them not to be seen in those areas during the GAC auditors’ work should be addressed.

He noted that the generators could not be found and instead of the President asking the LNP to account for those generators, she is talking about procedural errors.

Activist Dillon, quoting the GAC report also noted that the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN) claimed to have spent L$600,000 as allowance for officers assigned at the borders during the Ebola crisis but when auditors of the GAC visited those border posts, it was established that those officers do not exist and their names could not be found on the BIN payroll.

Mr. Dillon also observed that the GAC report noted that the Ministry of Defense under Mr. Brownie Samukai spent over L$800,000 during the Ebola crisis but when GAC auditors visited the Ministry to authenticate how such an amount was pent, Minister Samukai refused to cooperate with the auditors, saying, “Why is the President not demanding Samukai to cooperate with the GAC auditors?”

Citing another example, Mr. Dillon noted that Madam Ciatta Bishop who was in charge of the Crematory according to the GAC report could not account for 10,000 gallons of petroleum products that cost the Government of Liberia US$43,000.

Quoting the GAC report, Mr. Dillon noted that there was no record to show as to who signed for the products and at what time a gallon was signed for, quizzing, “why is the President not ensuring that these things are accounted for and where is the system?”

“I am angry with the President because she is condoning corruption and her statements are rendering the GAC and the LACC useless and if she will continue this way I would recommend that the GAC and the LACC be dissolved,” Dillon said in a serious tone.

Concluding Mr. Dillon said the President’s pretense to be fighting corruption is making corruption to win the government instead of the government winning it.