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Liberia's Donated Ebola Fleet Disappearing

October 05, 2015

Amid reports of the mysterious disappearance of Ebola donated vehicles, the Internal Audit Agency (IAA) recent Ebola fleet assessment report shows that the Ministry of Health (MoH) is one of the government agencies unable to account for vehicles received during the fight against Ebola, according to a report by Front Page Africa.

According to information gathered from the Ministry of Health (MoH), the General Services Agency, (GSA), and the National Task Force on Ebola (NTFE), a total of 382 vehicles and 134 motorcycles were given by the Government of Liberia and development partners to support the fight against Ebola. The Government and small donors contributed 162 vehicles, followed by the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) which donated 89, the World Bank 55, UNMIL 23, WHO 20, UNICEF 18, and UNMEER donated 15 vehicles, according to the Front Page Africa Report.

This fleet assessment report delves into the system of management of the cars and motorcycles used in the fight against the virus, and focuses primarily on the status, location, custodian and utilization of the vehicles and motorcycles apportioned to various ministries, agencies and commissions (MACs) directly or indirectly involved in the fight against the Ebola virus disease which plagued the country from March 2014 to May 2015. The report recommends that the discrepancies in fleet registries across the public sector are critical and need a more holistic approach if asset management is to improve, according to the Front Page Africa report.

The government report noted inconsistencies in the fleet records between the General Services Agency and Ministries, Agencies and Commissions across government. According to the government report: “The fleet verification exercise draws attention to the critical issue of gross inconsistencies between the National Fleet Registry maintained by the GSA and those kept by the various MACs. These inconsistencies are as the result of vehicles being auctioned or disposed of by MACs without the knowledge and acquiescence of GSA as required by Government’s policies on assets; GSA’s dereliction of its duties to regularly update and maintain accurate information on all assets of Government; and poor collaboration and coordination between GSA and the MACs,” according to the Front Page Africa report.

The government report also noted: “For example, GSA’s record of vehicles belonging to the Ministry of Education (MoE) still has 51 cars which were disposed of jointly by GSA and MoE from 2008 – 2014. GSA’s Registry also has extra 58 vehicles reportedly for MoH which the Ministry claims to know nothing about.”

The report by IAA reveals that out of the 382 vehicles and 134 motorcycles reported by GSA, MoH, and NTFE, the IAA physically verified 209 at the MoH. The audit report added that the IAA verified 24 at MoE, 22 at the Liberia National Police, five (5) at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, four (4) at the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN), and four (4) at the GSA. The remaining 114 vehicles were not available and thus could not be physically verified, according to the Front Page Africa report.

The IAA audit noted: “The IAA has submitted the list of those not available to the MoH for prompt action. The one hundred (100) motorcycles reported under the Ministry of Health, Ninety two (92) motorcycles were physically verified, one was reported stolen in Margibi and the remaining seven (7) were not physically verified. The 34 motorcycles in the custody of BIN were also verified.”

The National Fleet Registry had 13 vehicles for the Ministry of Information Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT), whereas the Ministry’s registry showed only 12. An attempt by IAA to reconcile both records disclosed that GSA’s and MICAT’s records had only seven (7) vehicles in common. Five vehicles coded by GSA were not registered by them (GSA), but were captured in MICAT registry, while six (6) vehicles listed at GSA were not recorded by MICAT, according to the Front Page Africa Report.

Similarly, at the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, the IAA realized that the Ministry listed 15 cars and 20 motorcycles but only 11 vehicles and five (5) motorcycles were registered at the GSA. Two of the 11 cars were disposed of without the involvement of GSA, according to the Front Page Africa Report.

In many instances, even when records exist, important information such as license plate number, proper description, the value of the vehicle, and the date of purchase is omitted. However, IAA is working with GSA and the respective MACs to resolve the discrepancies. Madam Mary Broh, Director General of the General Services Agency, the entity responsible for managing government assets recently said, that many of the vehicles used in the fight against the virus cannot be located, according to the Front Page Africa report.

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