Cameroonians have been on edge these last weeks, worried about the whereabouts of IMF funds for the fight against COVID-19 in the country.
Months after handing out the sum of 180Billion FCFA, many have begun asking questions on accountability, intensifying the demands following the silence of government.
According to the country’s lone English language daily newspaper, The Guardian Post, 15 Billion FCFA of the said fund is feared swindled through overcharging contracts related to the pandemic fight.
“According to findings made public by the Supreme State Audit Office, Cameroon lost up to 15 Billion FCFA to over-billed invoices from government officials involved in the purchase of Covid-19 test kits,” it noted.
The paper noted further that the principal suspect is Mediline, “a company which the Minister of Public Health, Dr Manaouda Malachie presented on June 4, 2020, as a ‘subsidiary of South Korean Mediline Medical Korea’ and ‘the result of a partnership between Cameroon and South Korea'”.
The Guardian Post averred further that of the 1.4 million test kits said to have been bought in 2020, 610,000 remain unaccounted for.
“No information was disclosed to the financial jurisdiction about their final destination,” it quoted the report further.
With the Mediline contract said to have been facilitated by high-ranking government officials, there are fears many might have done so for kickbacks and other personal benefits.
This worry is spurred by the fact that the said medical enterprise came out of hibernation only during the Covid-19 period, despite its creation in 2017.
“The audit office also announces that it will write a report on the real ownership and the suspicion of possible conflicts of interest that could have caused the privileges offered to the health equipment supplying company,” The Guardian Post added.
Though he has been called out by many over the fear of missing Covid-19 funds, Public Health Minister, Dr Manaouda Malachie has maintained sealed lips, going about his daily duties.
Other ministers allegedly connected to the same scandal have done the same, leaving Cameroonians in the dark.
As the days unfold, however, many are hopeful an investigation ordered by the President into the Covid-19 fund usage would shed more light on the situation.
Mimi Mefo Info