Liberiaan Health Minister Accused of Corruption

The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

Posted November 20, 2003

The health workers raised this issue during its meeting with Dr. Coleman last Friday at the premises of the Ministry intended to give Dr. Coleman a chance to address himself to dozens of allegations leveled against him by health workers in the country.

Dr. Coleman who took the stand for some 45 minutes, instead of addressing the allegation leveled against him by the workers, used the forum to speak against individuals some of whom were absent at the meeting.

Dressed in a blue suit, the Health Minister-designate accused the Chairman of the House Committee on Health Dr. Mohammed Sheriff, officials of the health workers union and other health employees of politicizing the health sector.

Dr. Coleman blamed the backwardness of the country’s health system to what he termed as “the lack of financial support” to the Ministry by the former president Charles Taylor for the six years that his government was in power.

He then denied ever receiving US$50,000 from the former GOL for the polio eradication program because, according to him, the Taylor-led administration was financially broke and as such, could not make financial contributions to the exercise.

The Health Minister-designate who appeared very depressed during the meeting, also informed the gathering that “today it is Peter Coleman, but tomorrow it might likely be one of you”.

However, the angry health workers vehemently rejected Dr. Coleman’s explanation and challenged that he never received a cent from the former GOL as alleged. The health workers said it was useless that they had to attend such a meeting with Dr. Coleman who cares less about the welfare of health workers in the country.

They also termed Dr. Coleman’s admittance to receiving US$8,000 from the former GOL and his failure to turn such money over to the NIDs Administrative/Financial Office as “Criminal”, because it is only the NIDs Administrative and Financial office that has the oversight to receive and disburse all funds in accordance with the World Health Organization’s regulation including the US$8,000 contribution of the former GOL.

The health workers during the meeting also accused Dr. Coleman of receiving US$12,500 in March 2000 from the former GOL as its contribution to the polio eradication campaign exercise but failed to turn it over to the NIDs office.

Meanwhile, the membership of the National Health Workers Union of Liberia and the National Veterans Association of Liberia will this week present two separate petitions to the NTLA calling on the house not to confirm Dr. Coleman.

© 2003: This article is copyrighted by The Inquirer newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.