The Inquirer is a leading independent daily newspaper published in Liberia, based in Monrovia. It is privately owned with a "good reputation".

Conflict Of Interest! -Minister Accused Of Diverting Health Funds

By Bill W. Cooper
Grand Gedeh County Senator, Zoe Emmanuel Pennue has accused Health Minister, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah of syphoning funds intended for the Ministry of Health to advance her private hospital located at ELWA Junction.
Sen. Pennue among other things also cautioned Minister Jallah to buttress the President and his government’s vision in ensuring that she works in the interest of the country and its citizens.
Sen. Pennue made the accusations on Tuesday, February 28, 2023 during a debate on the Senate Plenary floor following a preliminary briefing report from the Senate Committee on Ways, Means Finance and Budget on the 2023 draft National Budget passed and submitted by the House of Representatives at US$777.94 million.
However, Minister Wilhelmina Jallah who became the country’s Health Minister in 2018, is the Chief Executive Officer and owner of the Hope For Women Medical Hospital situated at the ELWA Junction.
It can be recalled that since the end of the country’s 14-year devastated civil unrest which led to the death and displaying of thousand Liberians, Liberia as Africa’s oldest independent nation continue to face some challenges of infrastructural and other economic hurdles.
Additionally, key sectors of the country’s governance system that are still struggling to meet international best standard despite donor-supports are Health, Education, Agriculture, Electricity, Water and Sanitation among others.
In order to address these nightmares, President George M. Weah upon taking office committed his government to the improvement and upgrading of the country’s already challenged post-war Health sector.
This, he stressed, “My government in line with our developmental agenda, the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) will ensure that we improve and upgrade the health sector of this country because a nation can only be developed once its citizenry are healthy.”
The Liberian leader added, “We will ensure that despite donors funding, a realistic budgetary allotment for the healthcare system of the country which we believe will address the well-being and health needs of the country and its people.”
But in contravention towards the President’s vision for affordable healthcare delivery, Sen. Pennue stressed that it was time for Minister Jallah to see the need to prioritize and have passion for her citizenry through her workings, and emphasized, “Because today, private health facilities including her own clinic is fully equip than public health facilities.”
According to him, Minister Jallah has miserably failed the government, the people of Grand Gedeh including the entire country since her appointment as Minister of Health, and thereby graded her performance/work 10 percent.
“I am giving this Minister 10 percent because she doesn’t know anything and more frustratingly, she has always diverted government’s money to the improvement of her facility and often refers sick patients to her hospital for medical treatment thus ignoring the government’s owned referral health facilities.
Sen. Pennue who also vowed to go very personal with the Minister Jallah over her dismal performance as the country’s Health Minister further stressed, “I am saying this because this Minister had little or nothing since she assumed the position under this CDC government but visit her clinic today, then you know exactly what I am talking about.”
The CDC Senator added, “To be honest, despite me being a ruling party Senator, I Zoe Emmanuel Pennue of Grand Gedeh would have voted against the passage of the Health Ministry budget if Senators were voting per item under the budget line but again, that’s not the case but there is a need that we all join Sen. Dillon to ensure that the right things are done.”

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