By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT and Moses Emmanuel Mendy
A report published by accountability watchdog Gambia Participates has revealed that “a list containing close to a thousand names was rejected by the COVID 19 Emergency Committee on Finance and Procurement. The reason is simple: Ghost Names”.
The report published on 30th April 2020 also highlights that Dr Ahmadou L. Samateh “the Minister of Health disclosed to Parliamentarians that there are officials in his Ministry who are planning to share the cake of COVID19 emergency response fund on allowances.”
This makes Saturday’s Corruption bombshell revelations by the Minister of Health the second time of informing National Assembly members about corruption in his Ministry. It’s left to be seen if Parliament will undertake any action to address his corruption allegations and if the Minister has or intends to take any action to address this corruption his administration.
On Saturday 16th May 2020, the Health Minister reported to Parliament that the problem in his Ministry started when the five hundred million was announced saying “they forget about the COVID 19” and all they talk about in the Ministry is “money, money, money”.
However, when we meet Gambia Participates Executive Director, Mr Marr Nyang he said “the things that he [Health Minister] has narrated in the National Assembly is not news to us, we’ve already unravelled most of what he has said if not almost all of it in our report “Corona, the Gambia and the Millions”. So, it’s actually not news to us if you read our report”.
April 22nd, No Remuneration
According to the 20-page report, on 13th April 2020, some COVID 19 frontline health workers embarked on a “Sit Down Strike” after their risk allowances payment was delayed. It’s reported that the health workers threatened to “withhold the data collected on COVID 19 in The Gambia” needed for the Ministry’s regular Corona Virus “Situation Report”.
One of the reasons advanced for the strike was due to concerns raised by some front-line workers that some “top officials” in the Ministry of Health have entitled themselves to COVID-19 allowances meant for front-line workers in the field risking their lives to curb the pandemic.
Gambia Participates’ investigation reveal that “on April 22nd 2020, D345,000 (three hundred and forty-five thousand Dalasis), 0.07% of the D512m (five hundred and twelve million dalasis) was approved as payment for sixty-nine frontline health workers in Upper River Region. However, shocking revelations indicate that “the final list of the 69 names was fraudulent as names of most frontline workers were omitted without their knowledge and new names added”.
The report quotes the Regional Health Directorate in Upper River Region saying “health officials in the region work twenty-four hours at the Gambia-Senegal border. They have been away from their families for three months without “any form of remuneration”.
Here is a link to the report: https://gambiaparticipate.org/download/corona-the-gambia-and-the-millions/