‘Ghost Clinic’: Rep. Marvin Cole, Bong County Health Team Staff Linked to the Disappearance of US$107,176.00 Meant for Clinic in Bong Town
Gbondoi, Bong County – Residents of Gbondoi Town in Bong County Electoral District Six on Friday took to the streets to protest District Three Representative Marvin Cole’s decision to divert US$ 25,000,00 earmarked during the 2020 Fiscal Year for a clinic in their district to the Kpayah Clinic in his district.
By Selma Lomax, [email protected]
In the last three years, $107,176.00 has been allocated in the national budget for a clinic in Gbondoi, but there has been no clinic construction, FrontPageAfrica tour of the town established.
The Kpayah Health Center, being constructed by Rep. Cole, has also received $100,000,00 from the national budget for the past three fiscal years.
In a letter addressed to Deputy Health Minister Norwu Howard dated March 16, 2020, Cole asked that $25,000 of the $50,000 earmarked for Gbondoi clinic be transferred to Kpayah Health Center.
The citizens organized a protest after they learned that Rep. Cole raised a motion last week Thursday in Plenary on the 2023-2024 budget for an additional $25,000,00 for the clinic.
In his motion, Cole told the Plenary that the clinic when completed would boost healthcare delivery in the town and nearby villages.
However, Representative Moima Briggs Mensah of District Six, rejected the motion, stating that there was clinic being constructed in Gbondoi by Rep. Cole, despite allotments of over $100,000,00 in previous budget years.
“No clinic has been constructed in Gbondoi by Honorable Cole, despite previous budgetary allotments,’ Briggs Mensah said. “He wants additional money for an invisible clinic. We are into electioneering period, so some of our colleagues who are going for re-election want to exploit their own people to raise money for their re-election.’’
Rep. Mensah urged Cole to give account of what he did with the previous funds for the clinic. “Rep. Cole should tell the people what he has done with previous funds that had been allocated for the construction of the Gbondoi clinic rather than denying there is a construction of a health center from the national budget.”
Since the election of President George Weah in 2018, residents of Gbondoi have been advocating for a clinic to serve their community of 5,000 inhabitants.
No clinic, no voting
The protesters said they wanted to alert everyone, including Rep. Cole and President George Weah that they are dissatisfied with their leadership.
They demanded that Rep. Cole accounts for the money. “It is disappointing to know that Rep. Cole has diverted funds intended for a health center in District Six to District Three,’’ said Zinnah Wamah, youth leader of Gbondoi.
“This is criminal on the part of the lawmaker and all those linked to diverting money intended for our health center to another district, when are our relatives are dying because of the lack of access to health center,” he said.
Elder Tartar Sackor, 70, said he will encourage resident not to register to vote next month because their votes in previous elections have turned out to be a curse.
“The essence of going to the polls is for your decision to become a blessing for you and your family, but when your vote turns out to be a curse, then there is no need we elect any leader,” Sackor said.
Did the Bong County Health Team Connive with Rep. Cole to steal clinic money?
There are concerns in Bong County as to why there isn’t a clinic in Gbondoi when monies have been allocated in the national budget for the past three years.
A source at the County Health Team told FrontPageAfrica that Dr. Cynthia Blapooh, Bong County Health Team Officer and Abraham Jusu, the County Health Services Administrator, have been reportedly conniving with Rep. Cole to use money meant for the Gbondoi clinic to their personal use.
“The County Health Team Officer Dr. Cynthia Blapooh and the County Health Services Administrator, Abraham Jusu opened an account for the Gbondoi clinic, but couldn’t construct anything for the people. Infact, they even hired a contractor for the project, but the money was later shared among them,” our source said.
Jusu and Blapooh failed to respond to numerous inquiries by FrontPageAfrica up to press time.