Acting Finance and Development Planning Minister Amara M. Konneh has warned all of those handling Ebola monies that if any is caught illegally eating Ebola money that person will go to jail.
Acting Minister Konneh said it was too early to accuse people of “eating Ebola Trust Fund money”. He, however, emphasized: “But let me say this to those of you receiving money to fight Ebola, when you eat Ebola money, you will go to jail.”
He disclosed that the Liberian Government would cut “wasteful spending” and redirect such funding to Ebola treatment centers like ELWA-2 and others all across the country.
He also told those handling the funds that proper accountability would be demanded off them in order to ensure that Liberians and sick patients get the “best care possible.”
Min. Konneh, who deputized for President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Wednesday, September 10, at ELWA-2 Ebola treatment center, had earlier been presented 12 Liberians, who once tested positive with the Ebola virus disease but were now negative and were being released back into their communities.
He said he had come with two messages from President Sirleaf: “The first message is to thank our Liberian Ebola heroes [and heroines], Dr. Jerry Brown and your team. I want to assure you, the administrators of ELWA-2 that we will do everything within our power as a government to give all the support that you need here.” Min. Konneh stressed that “anything” that Dr. Brown and his team need to save the lives of Liberians within the isolation, would be provided by the government.
He said the second message from the President was that their government is doing everything in its power to respond to the epidemic. Among other things, he disclosed: “We are going to open additional treatment centers around Montserrado and across the country: not in the matter of months but in the matter of weeks; we will work with our partners and we will put our government money inside. We will cut wasteful spending and put the money there when necessary.”
Min. Konneh, who is the nation’s chief financial custodian, assured Dr. Brown that he (Konneh) would visit the center everyday.
Speaking earlier, Rep. Edwin Melvin Snowe, in whose electoral district number 6, the isolation center is located, said every time, he enters the center, he is “touched.”
“Amidst the numerous criticisms, this center is supported fully by the Liberian government. We must give the credit to the government for the success of this center,” he said.
According to him, Finance Minister Konneh had informed him that he (Konneh) has been instructed by President Sirleaf that the center be fully supported.
He extended thanks to the government for providing vehicles for the center’s workers and Dr. Brown.
He, however, said that supporting the centers was good but preventing the spread of the disease was better and more focus should also be placed on it.
He appealed to everyone that handling of the anti-Ebola campaign should be void of political gimmicks.
Also speaking earlier, Dr. Brown said the 12 having stayed within the isolation between 10 to 20 days had now tested negative. He said among the 12 was a family whose father and mother succumbed to the virus and the kids were now left with their sister to raise. All of them had been positive.
Also among the 12 survivors was a women who had lost all her four children to the virus; the eldest was a 27-year-old nurse. She is now alone as she said her husband long abandoned the children and her.
She told the Daily Observer in an exclusive interview that she can no longer go back to her Logan Town home as there would be no one to talk with because everyone has died.