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PAC hearing reveals:

No staff database at Makeni Gov’t Hospital

March 6, 2015 By Jariatu S. Bangura

Officials from the Makeni government hospital were unable to produce a database of permanent staff and causal workers when they made an appearance before the Public Account Committee (PAC) of Parliament on Wednesday, 4 March.

Testifying at the hearing, Deputy Auditor General, Tamba Momoh, said when auditors reviewed expenditure returns and claims sheets for Le571,200,000, serial numbering of names of healthcare workers provided by the hospital was distorted with gaps in the numbering of entitled beneficiaries.

“Serial numbers jumped from 109 to 200 (91 places/counts) and also form 209 to 300 (91 places/counts), and it was observed that these gaps were repeated throughout the list at various intervals and various counts.

The anomaly in the list submitted for payment overstated by 271 names, amounting to Le216,800,000, and there is risk of misappropriation,” Momoh told MPs reviewing a damning audit report on the management of funds for the Ebola outbreak from May to October 2014.

The hospital’s Finance Officer, John Koroma, claimed the list was prepared in haste as it was urgently needed by Ministry of Health and Sanitation officials, but was rectified later.

Also, Hospital Secretary, Tejan Bockarie Bayoh, confirmed he was responsible for the preparation of the list but denied knowledge of the amount auditors say may have been misappropriated.

“95 causal workers were recruited as technical staff because at that time most health workers left due to the deadly Ebola virus disease, and we’re unable to trace them,” he claimed, although he could not state the exact number of staff working at the hospital at present.

He disclosed that the outstanding money had been paid into the Emergency Ebola Response accounts since 10 October, 2014, with returns made available to the Ministry of Health via the Finance department.

However, a member of the committee, Hon. Komba E. Koedoyoma, was concerned as to why the hospital should operate without a staff list.