An American-based Liberian family, is demanding apology from authorities of the COVID-19 Testing Center in Congo Town for delaying test result that caused them to loss their booked flight on Friday, 7 May, incurring US$800.00 extra expense.
Professional and award-winning Liberian Photo-Journalist James Kokulo Fasuekoi and his daughter Younger Fasuekoi have been visiting Monrovia where the latter celebrated her natal day with family members.
But Younger received an urgent call to return to the U.S. and had booked a flight onboard Air France on Friday and when she and her dad arrived at the Roberts International Airport in Margibi County, result of COVID-19 test they had paid (US$75.00) for days earlier, was not available thus, began their nightmare.
Airport security became very aggressive and intimidating, subjecting them to humiliation.
Addressing a news conference in Paynesville Saturday, 08 May, Mr. Fasuekoi narrated in frustration that he had persuaded his daughter, who has been out of Liberia for over a decade, to visit home for the first time only to encounter such an unpleasant experience with airport security that saw her being physically assaulted by one of the officers in his presence.
He said they were prevented from checking in at the airport, and stood for more than three hours. “We arrived at RIA and were informed that we didn’t have COVID-19 certificate. We contacted one of the heads of the COVID team why the delay in the result after she had taken the test, they couldn’t explain; I was so angry that I pulled the luggage out of the terminal”, he explained.
Mr. Fasuekoi took his daughter for a second test at the testing center opposite Sophie in Congo Town after result of the previous test carried out couldn’t be accounted for there saying, “I decided to escort my daughter because I couldn’t trust her along with them.”
Younger narrates: They directed me to Sophie in Congo Town where we paid 100 Liberian dollars each for masks. A man interrogated me and I told him I was traveling on May 7, 2021. The next day we met a lady who gave me a form to fill. She directed me to a red counter and I was told to pay US$75.00, then to the white counter – a man and his family there directed to the window.”
“We may request for compensation for the stress imposed on us. We are considering a lawsuit because of the embarrassment we were subjected to. I will be in contact with the Embassy (U.S.) here along with my lawyer”, Mr. Fasuekoi disclosed.
In 2020, a Liberian-born American Ms. Skeeter T. Wilson COVID-19 test result was tempered with staffers which led to Lawyer representing the legal interest of Ms Wilson writing authorities of the National Public Health Institute of Liberia on inquiry about his client’s COVID-19 status
The scandal led to suspension of at least three officials of the Institute and subsequent investigation and dismissal of the its former director general Dr. Masoka Fallah.
The suspended officials were Amos F. Gborie, Deputy Director, Division of Environmental and Occupational Health; Mr. Fahn Taweh, Deputy Director, National Public Health and Reference Laboratory and Jonathan G. Ender, Chief of Office Staff to Dr. Masoka Fallah.
The trio issued a negative COVID-19 traveler’s certificate to Ms. Skeeter T. Wilson, who was bundled out an airplane on Sunday August 2, 2020, by Liberian Immigration Service officials after authorities discovered that the certificate which she was bearing was forged.
According to information gathered by this paper, Ms. Wilson was tested positive and through the Incident Management System (IMS) treatment protocol was informed about her positive results and placed under treatment. In less than a week, a certificate under the signature of Dr. Makosa Fallah was issued to the patient that she’s negative.
But Dr. Fallah who did not deny that his signature was on that certificate claims that it was rather his chief of office staff Jonathan G. Ender who affixed his electronic signature on the document without his knowledge.
“This matter came to my attention on Friday (August 7).” Dr. Fallah told the New Dawn on Sunday August 9. “I never even knew that this was happening under my nose.” He added.
A similar situation involved Professor Dr. Alaric Tokpah who was declared COVID-19 positive after he had previously received certificate under the signature of Dr. Fallah informing him that he was negative. Story by Jonathan Browne