Gross Mismanagement of COVID-19 fund by the South Sudan National Taskforce.
South Sudan’s national task force on COVID-19 has been accused of gross mismanagement of COVID-19 funds that are meant to provide basic equipment and support for COVID-19 frontline health workers and also patients.
The task force under the leadership of the Vice President, Hussein Abdelbagi Akol Agany diverted most of these funds for personal use. In a document seen by NCMP, the COVID-19 taskforce leadership used the COVID-19 money as salaries for himself and also for his medical leave when he traveled abroad with more than twenty (20) personnel.
During the period, the frontline health workers and the doctors are in a dire situation. They lack Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE), no salaries for the health workers, and the hospitals that are used as quarantine sites are running without Oxygen machines, bedsides monitors, wheelchairs, and crutches for COVID-19 patients.
On 22nd July 2020, 15,070,000 was approved with the name incentives for National Taskforce, no trace or document that shows how this fund was disbursed.
On the 9th of October, 2020 according to a memo seen by NCMP, the office of the Vice President approved 60,000 USD for the Gender Organization to do awareness but it all ended in the Vice president office with a small amount reaching the organization.
In another memo, dated 27th October 2020, the office of the Vice President approved amount of 240,000USD from the account of National Taskforce on COVID-19 for the rent of what was going to be store for Covid-19 items, all legal documents were done and the money was given to the office manager of vice president, unfortunately, the rent did not happen and the money disappeared. The landlord and tenant were threatened to remain mute and the case was buried.
In another document, Gollbeny for general trading was authorized to smuggle in the medical material without taxation. Despite the fact that the company has nothing to do with the National taskforce on COVID-19, the Vice President ordered the authorities to give a tax waiver to the company.
The question in the mind of ordinary South Sudanese, even as the country is witnessing another wave of the pandemic is that why would a leader misuse such COVID-19 fund when poor citizens are overwhelmed every day by the pandemic?
It is also worthy of note that the leadership style of the COVID-19 Taskforce is questionable. He has refused to carry along his team members in the decision-making process. The recent Lockdown is a clear indication that He has not consulted widely. How will he save the country from COVID-19 when he hasn’t consult Health experts from both in National Taskforce on COVID-19 and the Ministry of Health?
Many South Sudanese are dying from the pandemic and the ability of the quarantine sites to support patients in critical condition is zero. This is a complete mess, and It is important that the government review the activities of the Taskforce.