By: Varney Dukuly
MONROVIA: As the 54th National Legislature rolls-out its expenditure hearings of the 2023 draft National Budget on Capitol Hill in Monrovia, what seems to be interesting revelations are fast emerging with ghost medical centers receiving mouthwatering budgetary allotments in previous and current National Budgets.
The ongoing budget hearings are attracting line ministries and agencies of government for the second time since the country transitioned from a ‘Fiscal Year Budget’ to ‘Calendar Year Budget.’
The ongoing open budget hearings followed the revenue component held recently behind closed door but this expenditure portion of the hearing appears to be shining light on the performance reports of the previous year from various ministries and agencies.
On Monday, February 13, 2023 phoning in on a local radio station, ‘Radio Gbarnga’ in Bong County, the Bong County District#6 Representative, Moimah Briggs-Mensah, disclosed that there has been an alarming budgetary allocation to a non-existing medical institution, or a ghost medical center in Bong.
Representative Briggs-Mensah said , she has no idea with respect to the whereabouts of the funds budgeted for an apparent ghost healthcare center purported to be situated in ‘Gbondoi’ town, Bong County, as it is reflected in the 2022 and 2023 National Budgets.
Gbondoi, which is situated between Suakoko Town in Suakoko Administrative District and Gbartala in Yelequelleh District, Bong County, is directly represented by Representative Briggs-Mensah.
In the 2022 approved budget, an allotment of a whopping US$50,000 was made to the purported Gbondoi Health Center.
Additionally, US$25,000 was allocated for the same ‘Gbondoi Health Center’ in the current National Budget, which is now under scrutiny by lawmakers.
Also this paper has independently verified the latest claim from the Bong County District#6 Representative Moimah Briggs-Mensah.
Speaking via mobile phone on a local radio station in the county on Monday, February 13, 2023, Representative Mensah confirmed the information and said she was surprised about the allocations.
She further told this paper that the matter is being investigated by her Office.
“I just told my Chief of Office Staff (COS) to do the analysis and I will go back to the Ministry of Health. If they can’t give me good answer; I will come back to the Bong County people and write a petition to find out. But, you know what: Instead of asking me, let us ask everybody that got link to it,” said Rep. Briggs-Mensah.
She promised to continue her investigation into ghost clinic that surfaced twice in the National Budget and subsequently received mouthwatering sums of money.
The Bong lawmaker clarified that there is no health center in her district called “Gbondoi Health Center.”
She encouraged the citizens to stand with her as she investigates the matter so as to establish the identities and whereabouts of the people who have been benefiting from such funds at the exclusion of the people of her district.