Via ReliefWeb, a depressing IRIN report: Sierra Leone's missing Ebola millions. Excerpt:
FREETOWN, 30 March 2015 (IRIN) - More than half of US$18 million of treasury and public donation funds supposedly spent on fighting Ebola in Sierra Leone, where the disease has claimed 3,764 lives, lacks complete paperwork and almost a third is officially “unaccounted for” according to an audit report.
Anti-corruption and National Ebola Response Centre officials are investigating findings by the Audit Service that around $6 million may have gone to the wages of non-existent or “ghost” workers.
The service found that between May and October 2014, $3.7 million that was disbursed from the Emergency Health Response Account and the Ministry of Health Miscellaneous Account, intended for Ebola response activities, had no supporting documentation to show how the funds were used.
An additional $2.6 million was taken from the same accounts without “adequate” supporting documentation, such as receipts. The auditors also reported that $3.9 million, which was supposedly used to purchase ambulances and help construct the Port Loko Ebola Treatment Center, is unaccounted for.
“The findings of the report makes a sad rhythm because it alleges that money otherwise meant to provide relief and to rescue lives wasn’t used, for the most part, towards the purpose it was intended,” said Ibrahim Tommy, the coordinator for Sierra Leone’s Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law, an independent organization that advocates for institutional transparency. “And, according to the report, this might have even adversely affected the government response to the crisis.”
Tommy added: “It makes one wonder how a serious humanitarian crisis was used as money-making machine.”
Both the Clerk Office of the Public Accounts Committee and the Audit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL) declined to comment on the report, telling IRIN only that the allegations are currently under review by the Parliament.