Liberia: Health Ministry Debunks Freedom FM’s Reportage

Deputy Health Minister for Administration, Ms. Norwu Howard

Monrovia – The Ministry of Health has come out strongly to defend its Deputy Minister for Administration, Ms. Norwu Howard, against what it describes as “orchestrated attempt to ruin the hard-earned reputation.

In a press release under the signature of Mr. Sorbor George, the Health Ministry’s Communication Consultant, the ministry said Freedom FM, in a series of radio shows, had reported that Dep. Minister Howard “illegally granted duty free for kickbacks to West Kevcon, the company that is currently constructing the new Redemption Hospital in Caldwell.”

Mr. George said the Ministry calls the allegations baseless; adding: “At no time did Deputy Minister Howard, a well-respected and professional figure, illegally grant duty free for kickbacks as maliciously and unprofessionally reported, as the MOH is not the agency in charge of granting duty free requests.”

The Health Ministry disclosed that West Kevcon, the architectural firm constructing the new Redemption Hospital had made a request to the Ministry of Health for duty free on grounds that most of the materials for the project found in the local market are of low quality and substandard, and that there was need to import materials including the finished products from the USA without any additional cost to the project.

“Following a Technical Management Meeting on April 30, 2019, the Ministry then forwarded the company’s request to the Liberia Revenue Authority, which is the agency of government solely responsible to grant or deny duty free privileges.

“LRA granted the company’s request in the interest of the government and People of Liberia, to ensure the successful end and a durable product.”

The contract for the construction of the new Redemption Hospital was signed in 2017, long before Minister Howard took office. Minister Howard only renewed the contract after it expired and has been successfully facilitating its implementation.

The MOH has however, cautions the media in the discharge of its duties; adding: “incorrect information could have an adverse effect on the stability and development of the country.”