1 June 2019

Sierra Leone: Commission of Inquiry

Financial Specialist attached to the Integrated Health Project Administration Unit (IHPAU) at the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Ayodele Martins, has failed to explain before Justice Biobele Geogewil of Commission of Inquiry room 1 as to how $186,645 was disbursed under his management.

Testifying at the Commission of Inquiry, Martins failed to explain specifically how the above sum of money that was transferred from the BDO account to the IHPAU's account, was disbursed.

"The money was generally spent for project implementation by the ministry. Everything was spent but at this moment I can't identify how much it was generally," he said.

He added that it was the team lead for IHPAU and Chief Medical Officer that approved payment of any type in the unit.

Martins stated that IHPAU was created in 2016 in partnership with donor partners to serve as a fiduciary unit for the ministry in the management of donor resources.

He said IPAU's main functions were to manage donor funds and to also advise on all financial related matters after BDO concluded their contract with the ministry.

From another evidence produced by the state counsel, the sum total of Le14,000,000,000 was transferred by BDO to IHPAU at the end of the Ebola crisis when the National Ebola Response Centre (NERC) was folding up.

Meanwhile, a financial summary of cash balance and bank statement were tendered and marked as exhibit P1125 and Martin was asked to read a portion of it.

On the statements of account for 1st April 2016 to 13th August 2016, he explained that there was a transfer of Le190, 000,000 from BDO to the IHPAU account from 1st - 6th April, 2016.

Also on the 28th of April 2016 to 29th April 2016, he disclosed that Le720, 000,000 from the Leones account was debited from IHPAU's account as salary to workers.

He narrated that from the 7th to 12th April, 2016, over $165,000 was also debited from the IHPAU's United States Dollar account as salary to workers.

On that note, Justice Georgewill insisted that supporting documents for monies spent by the unit under the management of the witness should be made available.

"So when am I getting the supporting documents for each of these payment? I want to see whatever you see. Bring all of them so that we would work with them because the amount we are talking about here is not a joking amount," said Justice Georgewill.

The team lead for IHPAU, Alpha Umaru Jalloh, was also cross examined and he stated that based on evidences, IHPAU didn't work directly with NERC so the aspect of financial management of NERC was overseen by BDO.

He added that by the end of the Ebola crisis all funds were handed over to IHPAU.

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