“Unprofessional Disregard for Context”

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The Incident Management System (IMS) has sharply reacted to the General Auditing Commission (GAC) report on the National Ebola Trust Fund (NETF) for the period August 1 to October 31, 2014 and April, 2015, describing the report as an “unprofessional disregard for context.”

Expressing its disappointment and rejection of the report, the IMS stated that the GAC report was entirely “out of context, unbalanced, unfair and is most unprofessional in numerous other respects.” The IMS reaction which it released this week was contained in a 35-page document signed by its manager, Tolbert G. Nyenswah, Deputy Health Minister-designate.

The GAC report holds members of the NTFE responsible for financial irregularities and material control deficiencies.

IMS recounted that the GAC mentioned in its report correctly that  on July 26, 2014, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, announced that Ebola was a national emergency and set up a National Ebola Task Force to coordinate all interventions for containing and eliminating the fast spreading epidemic. Therefore, said IMS, the ''financial activities … of the NETF  that you say ‘were marred by financial irregularities and material control deficiencies’, have  consistently failed to take duly into account the "national emergency" nature of particular "interventions" that were undertaken by the Task Force and were specifically aimed at containing and eliminating  the Ebola virus .

“In total disregard of such critically a relevant and important context, you focused, most unprofessionally, merely on the form rather than the substance of the "financial activities" in question.

“Nowhere in your entire report have you as much as appropriately factored in the fact that by its very nature an emergency, especially one experienced in Liberia within this context necessarily implies a race against time.”

Instead, GAC had described as irregularities the procurements of food, equipment and other items on an emergency basis from various suppliers because those purchases had either been done "without contract, or because some vendors and public entities failed to provide confirmation of transactions, some vendors failed to provide valid Tax Clearances and in one particular case, the supporting invoice from an overseas service provider is "unsigned," IMS noted.

IMS said further that the claims in GAC’s report contain no indication of how those factors, standing alone, constitute ''financial irregularities and material control deficiencies.”

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