The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 20 August 2014
Last week’s report in the Awareness Times regarding Sierra Leone’s health minister’s conflict of interests and possible breach of the country’s civil service code of conduct, in the face of the current public health crisis, raise serious questions about governance, accountability and possible threat to national security.
According to the report, which since its publication has not been refuted by either the minister or State House, the health minister Miata Kargbo is unlawfully serving as minister while currently on the payroll of a pharmaceutical research company – Eli Lilly, who it is understood are developing a vaccine for ebola and other diseases.
Should this allegation be proven to be true – and right now there is no reason to believe it is not, then president Koroma must be held accountable, and State House should answer the following questions:
– Was the president aware of the conflict of interest posed by his decision to appoint Miata Kargbo as health minister?
– Did State House conduct due diligence and employment reference checks before making that appointment?
– Did the Anti-Corruption Commission request a declaration of assets – including all financial interests from the minister as required by Law?
– If so did the minister declare her interest in the drugs research company?
– Was the president advised by his Secretary that the appointment of Miata Kargbo, whilst in the employment roll of Eli Lilly, was not only unsafe, but in breach of ministerial and civil service code of conduct?
– Did the parliamentary appointments committee satisfy itself that there was no question of conflict of interest with respect to her appointment?
– why has State House failed to issue a statement in response to such serious allegation published by a newspaper owned by the Special Adviser to the President?
Ebola has so far taken the lives of 350 people in Sierra Leone, as the debate regarding the origin of the virus continues.
Speculations, innuendos and conspiracy theories are not in short supply.
Sierra Leone has so far lost 2 senior doctors and more than 40 other health and ancillary workers to the Ebola virus.
There are far too many unanswered questions that are becoming very uncomfortable to those whose interests are at stake:
– Was the Ebola crisis caused by a drugs research company testing an antidote for the virus?
This question is significant, because logic would inform that in order to test any possible vaccine on humans, one would in the first place need a cohort of human guinea pigs on whom to test the drug.
– Was the Ebola virus therefore, released deliberately into what the researchers possibly believed to be a ‘controlled research environment’ – which as evidence now suggests was a miscalculated risk?
– Once again, we ask the question in relation to the allegation published in the Awareness Times; was minister Kargbo at any time employed by the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly?
– And is she still on the payroll of Eli Lilly?
President Koroma’s credibility and image are not being best served by the continuing silence of State House with respect to this highly damaging allegation that is simply refusing to go away.
More importantly, foreign investors and those trying to conduct business in Sierra Leone would like to feel confident in the belief that, those in government with whom they are signing agreements, are devoid of conflicting interests, which may injure or prejudice their investments in Sierra Leone.
The government must now come clean as this issue will not go away.