Around mid of December there was an extremely interesting article on foreignpolicy.com. It some time ago now, but I still want to use the article as the baseline of today’s blog post. The topic is of timeless actuality in Sierra Leone, not only in Ebola times: corruption.
In rankings by Sierra Leone is the lowest third of countries, meaning, corruption has always been an issue. In the recent history of development aid in Sierra Leone there were a few spectacular cases of corruption (see link), involving government authorities on the highest level. The government set up an anti-corruption commission, but regarding the above mentioned article the effectiveness of this group should be put in question.
There are other sources who claim that Ebola funds did not end up where they were mend to end up. Rumours have it that the cement sells in the country increased dramatically in the last months. Why? They say that authorities started to renovate their private properties. Hard to believe that it is a coincidence that they have the money for refurbishment right now. But, as said, it’s all rumours – of course.
From my personal view I can confirm that the turnover of money is extremely high at the moment in Sierra Leone. Also Welthungerhilfe is spending a lot of money in project implementation, mostly that of the British and German government. That requires a considerable administrative effort, otherwise the rightful use of the funds cannot be guaranteed. And that’s one of the reasons why I’m working 7 days a week at the moment. I can only speculate how the considerably greater sums of money that were disbursed directly to the Sierra Leonean government by foreign governments are being administered. Many representatives of local governments took on two jobs at the same time: Still working for the government, they also apply regularly as consultants for international NGOs. How that can possible be managed time-wise is up to question and one can only assume that their governmental tasks are being left unattended.
What is really worrying me is not the money that might have been lost. Concerning is the “lessons learnt”: It’s easy to make money with a health emergency in the country. That points to the central question: Has really everybody here a genuine interest in getting Ebola to “zero”?