Fraud Suspected in Ebola Rice Distribution in Nimba

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Complaints of alleged fraudulent activity over the distribution of food ration intended for residents of various Ebola affected communities in Nimba County is have surfaced with reports that several other persons are being denied food and cash benefits.

On the April 29, 2015, a member of the Buu – Yoa Community Forum in Nimba County, Jamuel Wonah, told the Daily Observer that the distribution of food ration in Teahplay Boyealay on April 24 and 25 was done without any prior notice to the residents thereby denying most of the beneficiaries from the process.

He said after the few who turned out received their shares, the bulk of the balance that left were allegedly auctioned before the other beneficiaries could arrive from their various farming activities.

Mr. Wonnah explained that after the first distribution, ADRA, an entity in charge of the process, told the citizens that since the distance to the distribution sites in the various towns were far, they will instead bring cash as substitute to the food ration.

But, according to him, on April 24 when the distribution team returned in those communities, they distributed LD3400 was given to each person instead of the US$40 that was previously earmarked for each beneficiary.

He added on the April 25, 2015, the same group under the team leader only identified as Larry carried on distribution of nutritional items in the same community without displaying the way bill for the chiefs to approve.

Since Ebola response food began reaching Nimba County, the process has always been associated with alleged fraudulent activities, particularly during the distribution of the food items and the cash.

In October 2014, some local health workers were arrested for allegedly stealing about 200 bags of rice from the ware house in Sanniquellie. They were charged and sent to court, but the court exonerated them after going through the court proceedings.

Later in November of the same year, another food distribution conducted by ADRA led into confusion in Karnplay linking the City Mayor of Karnplay, but what became of the case is yet to be known.

Since the Ebola rice saga involving the local health workers the distribution of food items last year, ADRA is now implementing the food distribution from WFP.

But in many of the allegations, which include selling of relief rice to business owners in Ganta, ADRA along with WFP representatives disputed the claims describing them as “liar and misleading.”

However, efforts to get comment from ADRA representative in Saclepea, Alex Jallah, about the recent distribution sagas remain futile as he was yet to respond to Daily Observer after he had earlier promised to call back.

Early this reporter text a message to him about the allegations, but to no avail.

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