Millions of ‘expired’ drugs destroyed
Another mysterious fire engulfed the Central Medical Stores at New England last Friday, destroying drugs worth millions of Leone. A section of the stores which caught fire was razed to ground, as efforts to put out the blaze prove futile.
According to eyewitness who refused to disclose their names, the blaze was caused by a spark from the main electricity pole which provides electricity to the medical stores.
The fire force was called to the scene, but could do nothing to prevent the particular store the fire broke out from completely being burnt down. They, however, succeeded in putting out the fire before it could spread to other buildings.
At a hastily arranged press briefing, Minister of Healthy and Sanitation, Ms. Miatta Kargbo told newsmen the building houses five stores, although only one of the stores was burnt. She identified it as store No. 3 which she said contained expired cost recovery drugs which were meant to be destroyed.
She said no free healthcare drugs were destroyed in the inferno, although that is yet to be independently verified. She said they are yet to ascertain the real cause of the fire outbreak, but promise that a full investigation will be launched and that the findings would be made known to the public.
She said she was called in the afternoon at around one going to two and informed that there is a outbreak of fire at the medical store and she immediately went there and she met the fire on blaze on one of the store while the Fire Force was trying to fight the fire.
Meanwhile, Chief of Staff in the Office of the President, Dr. Richard Konteh, who was also at the scene of the accident, said frequent incidences of fire at public buildings/installations, was a serious concern to the government. He lamented the fact the blaze may have caused government and the people of Sierra Leone a monumental financial loss, albeit the drugs involved are ‘expired drugs’.
He reiterated that there would be an official investigation into the cause of the outbreak of the fire and that anyone who is found culpable would face the full force of the law.
This is not the first time that the medical store is at the center of an alleged fire accident. Previous blazes caused millions of economic loss to government, yet there were no successful prosecutions, although it was highly suspicious that those were not accidental fire outbreaks.