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Senate probes JFK scandal

Chief Administrator Dr. Wvannie Scott- McDonald briefing the press recently 

Members of the Liberian Senate,sitting in plenary Tuesday, 10 May voted overwhelmingly for the committee on Health, Children and Social Welfare to immediately investigate the recent financial scandal at the government-owned John F. Kennedy Medical Center, which has been in the media for time now.

Tuesday’s sitting under the watchful eyes of Montserrado County Senator, Madam Geraldine Doe-Sherif as presiding officer took the decision following a communication from Rivercess County Senator Dallas Gueh.
“We would like to seek the senate’s intervention in the whistleblowing in the ongoing blowing saga involving the JFK medical center and lots of Liberians being incriminated in bogus financial transactions and ethical violation,” the communication dated April 18, 2016 read.

It continues; “ Lot of us may be aware of numerous complaints emanating from the John F. Kennedy Medical Center of high service fees being charged. I have receipts to adduce to this effect. Is JFK now a private hospital? Are funds collected being deposited into government consolidated account? We need to know”, Senator Gueh said in his communication.

According to him, documented accounts of gross negligence by the JFK authorities of little Shaki Kamara and NakitaForh, which led to their deaths and host of other Liberians that have not officially complained, are available.

The letter stressed; “Do we wait for more evidence when we have available electronic and hard evidence of these gross malpractices being carried out before our very eyes? We want to know.”  According to him, evidences also abound on Chief Administration of the hospital Dr. Wannie Scott McDonald, and her staffs’ alleged financial malpractices; noting that the senate should not wait for friendly radio stations to uncover it before it can act.

He indicated that he strongly believes that the time to act is now if the citizens are to maintain their trust and confidence in the government. Meanwhile, the senate has mandated its Statutory Committee on Health, Children and Social Welfare to investigate the matter and report to plenary within two weeks.

It can be recalled; the former Public Relations Manager of JFK, Mr. DayueGoah revealed on a local radio station that there were bad managerial practices at the hospital which had led to deaths of many Liberians.

Also, this paper reported that the Liberian Government through the John F. Kennedy hospital indicted several persons, including staffs of the hospital, First International Bank and Central Bank of Liberia for theft of property, economic sabotage, criminal conspiracy and money laundering, among other charges.

The main suspect defendant Patrick Konuwa filed a penalty value of 34 million Liberian Dollars and US$252,600.12 at the court to secure his release from prison. Defendant Konuwa’s criminal appearance bond was filed by Sky Insurance Company, which according to a prosecutorial source, is to be challenged.

Also RebeahArnaus, James Ricks, and Thomas Mezzah also filed their criminal appearance bond and are expected to appear before the court on an assigned date scheduled in each of the defendant’s criminal appearance bond.

But latest reporting reaching this paper says the newlyappointed Board of Directors of the John F. Kennedy Medical Center in Monrovia has expressed confidence in the ability of the current JFK Management Teamheaded by Chief Administrator, Dr. Wvannie Scott- McDonald,to oversee the operations of the center, promising to work with the management team to achieve its mandate.

The report says during discussions, the JFK Administration adequately briefed the Board about its current operations, including the recent fraud, ongoing activities and issues constantly appearing in the media about the center.

The Board has set-up three separate committees, namely; Finance, Administration and Human Resource Program and Medical Services, charged with the responsibility to carry out a critical analysis of the JFK operations and provide expert advice tothe Board in reforming the center.

Meanwhile, a strategic improvement plan has been developed for the JFK which lays out key activities to be achieved in areas of governance and leadership, infrastructure improvement, human resources, diagnostic services and quality service delivery, respectively.

Besides, a revised Act for the center has been passed by the Liberian Legislature, which serves as a guide for the new board and the JFK Management Team in ensuring that the institution serves as an effective referral and training hospital.

Currently, the JFK Administration is carrying out a number of key activities in the area of health services, particularly eyes care and securing dialysis and basic cancer treatment. Additionally, the administration has also upgraded diagnostic services which include MRI and CT scan.

The JFK Team is also making frantic effort in the recruitment of specialists, and has completed the accreditation of Tubman National Institute of Medical Art or TNIMA. The administration is also carrying out major renovation both internally and externally as part of efforts to improve the infrastructural outlook of the center.

By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Jonathan Browne

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