Sierra Leone failed to properly account for Ebola funds- auditor

FREETOWN, (Reuters) – Sierra Leone failed to fully account for nearly a third of the $20 million earmarked for fighting Ebola during six months last year, the national auditor said yesterday, suggesting bad governance may have hampered the battle against the epidemic.

The report by Sierra Leone’s Auditor General looked at 84 billion leones ($19.5 million) the government set aside for fighting the hemorrhagic fever from the start of the outbreak last May until October.

Most of the money came from tax revenues and donations by domestic institutions and individuals. The report did not consider funds channelled through U.N. agencies or international non-governmental organisations.

The funds were mostly disbursed on personal protective equipment, medical supplies, consumables and bonus payments to healthcare workers, the report said.

But it found that more than 14 billion leones from the government’s emergency health response account had no supporting documents to substantiate how they were spent. A further 11 billion leones spent from the same account were missing receipts and invoices.

“Monies that have been set aside for the purpose of combating the Ebola outbreak may have been used for unintended purposes, thereby slowing the government’s response to eradicate the virus,” the report said.

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