Revealed: Over one million Dalasis missing from Gambia’s Covid-19 Emergency Fund
A staggering D1M has been discovered to have allegedly gone missing from The Gambia Covid-19 Emergency Fund, GunjurOnline can report. The discovery was made by Gambia Participates, a youth led Civil Society Organisation in The Gambia that promotes good governance, transparency, accountability, corruption reduction and participatory democracy enhancement.
Using a comparative analysis of the Covid-19 fund expenditure report by the Ministry of Finance and the Health Ministry, the organisation revealed that a sum of D1,0743,364.00 (One million, seven hundred and fourth-three thousand and three hundred and sixty-three Dalasis was found to be missing, based on five expenditure items on the reports. The revealaton came on the back of a bombshell news from the Gambia’s Health Minister, Dr Ahmed Samateh that officials in his ministry are involved in large scale corruption and theft of the covid-19 fund to build story buildings for themselves at the expense of the people of The Gambia. Dr Samateh was speaking in the National Assembly where he disclosed that ghosts names of volunteers and frontline staff were manufactured by corrupt officials bent on diverting the Covid-19 Emergency Fund to personal use. Almost one thousand names of such were discovered to have been listed to receive allowances from the fund. These names were those of friends, family members and wife’s of these corrupt health ministry officials.
The government of the Gambia has allocated five hundred and twelve million Dalasis for the fight against the spread of the Coronavirus in the tiny impoverished West Africa nation of just over two million people.
Appearing before Parliamentarians, Dr Samateh informed MPs that his ministry’s problems started when government announced the D512M Covid-19 Emergency Fund, saying “they forgot about Covid-19 and all they talk about in the ministry is money, money, money” in reference to the corrupt health officials at the Ministry of Health.
CORONA, THE GAMBIA AND THE MILLIONS, a report of investigation conducted by Gambia Participates tracking the funds of the Covid-19 crisis in The Gambia seen by GunjurOnline also revealed that close to D350 million was approved as allowance payment for sixty-nine frontline health workers in the Upper River Region of the country. Investigations howver revealed that the final list of the sixty-nine frontline workers was amended thereby removing most of the names of the workers and fraudulently replacing them with ghost names. The report which was published in late April indicate that “According to an official at the Ministry of Health, there is a high risk of financial mismanagement of the Emergency Response Fund (D512m) due to poor coordination and corruption within the health sector.” Of the D512 million Dalasis from the government of The Gambia, D160 million was already spent as of April end, the report revealed:
“Our research further revealed that out of the domestically sourced D512M from the 2020 budget, D160 million has been spent as of April 28th 2020. The sum of D100m was spent on procure- ment of medical equipment and ambulances while the D60m is spent on hotels, allowances, training, imprest, rehabilitation of health centers etc.”