Dr. Samateh outlines string of abnormalities at Health Ministry

May 18, 2020, 1:37 PM | Article By: Arfang M.S. Camara

Health Minister Dr. Ahmadou Lamin Samateh has given a rare insight into the country’s Health Ministry, citing a string of abnormalities due to the bad system inherited by the current government.

“Some of the things happening at the health sector are as a result of the same old people being part of the bad system that we inherited,” he said.

The Health minister cited the Ebola crisis as an example, saying that Ebola funds were wasted in the country. He argued that if those funds were put into good use, the health sector would not have been like it is.

“We talked about the Ebola and unfortunately, Ebola funds were wasted in this country and that this is the same thing they want to do with the fund of covid-19, and I said no. This is why some of them are up and against the Health Ministry,” Dr. Samateh further said.

“Equipment were said to be procured which never got to the country, allowances were put together then it was given as imprest and people held this imprest in bags would go and pay selected people; and the rest only God knows where it went to.”

The health minister was speaking before legislators at the National Assembly on Saturday when the Justice minister tabled a motion for the extension of the State of Public Emergency.

He noted that some people where left as response team during Ebola for three months without being paid anything. The minister thus outlined the reason for revealing this, saying that the same people are still in the system and they don’t have access to the covid-19 funds that’s why they are sabotaging the system.

“For them things should not work, because they don’t have their way to get access to these funds and they want things to fail,” he said, acknowledging that being a health minister during this time of covid-19 “is probably the most difficult work.”

He added that: “People will go to the media and make allegations without verifying. They hear one or two things without knowing what the story is all about. They go and fabricate. Instead of us to concentrate on the work to defeat covid-19, we have to now debunk their lies so that people can know about the truth.”

Dr. Samateh noted that they have a bad system where middle-level people in the Health Ministry would spend money on building storey buildings.

The Health minister alleged that some top officials were providing up to 300 ghostworker (fake names) who should be receiving frontline job allowances. However, he told legislators that he rejected those names as they were neither working with the Health Ministry nor The Gambia government.

He said that some of the names these people brought to receive allowances were family members and friends.

“And I will remove those people because to them, Dr. Samateh came to destroy their lives. So their up with all arms and doing all kinds of havoc to us, undermining us because they have grievances.”

He told lawmakers that: “if a former minister could call a programme manager two-three weeks ago asking him to send him fuel coupons, then we have a problem in this country.”

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