Liberia National Red Cross Society Faces Funding Constraints
Monrovia – The Liberia National Red Cross Society is now facing a massive task of rejuvenation as a result of a declined reputation created by a major corruption scandal.
Report by Alpha Daffae Senkpeni – [email protected]
The ramification is gravely impacting the level of support from numerous international partners, as they remain skeptical about contributing to the LNRCS.
Currently, the LNRCS needs US$350,000 to implement its plan of action.
The new administration of the Red Cross says while it continues to rebuild image, donors are hesitant to contribute “huge funds” to the society as a result of the corruption allegations that engulfed the organization after the Ebola outbreak.
During the outbreak, humanitarian gestures intended to combat the dead virus that devastated the country in 2014 and 2015 were misappropriated or embezzled.
And the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) said US$2.7 million was lost to corruption in Liberia, misappropriated by officials who headed the LNRCS during the outbreak.
Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf initiated a probe, which led to the dissolution of the governing board in March 2016.
In December 2016, a new Governing Board was elected and installed.
In June 2017, the Secretariat General of the National Society was recruited.
The Ministry of Justice then opened a formal investigation, while the new administration promised to subsequently prosecute all those who were allegedly involved in the corruption scandals.
During a meeting with journalist on Thursday March 29, 2018, the head of the new management team revealed that the Liberia Anti Corruption Commission (LACC) has gathered “enough data to continue the case”.
Sayba Tamba, LNRCS Secretary General and head of the management team, says the aftermath of the corruption saga is hunting the work of the society, while resources are scarce to respond to disaster.
The LNRCS gets an annual budget of US$125,000 from the government through the Ministry of Health, but says the allotment is inadequate.
Jerome Clake, President of LNRCS, added that they are shouldering a “burden of the past that we didn’t create and accepting that burden means there are benchmarks to meet.”
“We do not have the partners who were here before; they are afar peeping through the window to see whether certain benchmarks are being met and indeed our transitional plan that we have we going gradually by that,” he said.
While the new management team continues to lobby with the Legislature for budgetary increment, it is making amends for the discrepancies of its predecessor.
Lawrence Orowe, acting head of the IFRC in Liberia, say the international federation is “very concern” about the situation at the LNRCS and has been monitoring the situation. There have seen signs of progress from the new management, he said.
There have been fresh governance of election, professional recruitment of staff, key objectives set, out of which 80 percent have been met, and a new strategic plan by the society, Orowe added.
He said the new management is “building block and integrity, and everything is getting in place”, adding that in 2017 the LNRCS recorded no debt based on a recent audit which shows “progress and transparency.”