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-US Ambassador Threatens

By: G Bennie Bravo Johnson I

Following their involvement in an act of financial impropriety, US Ambassador to Liberia Michael McCarthy, has warned that the US government through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), will not resume reimbursing legitimate funds to “Fixed Amount Reimbursement Agreement (FARA) Program in Margibi if a successful prosecution of the county’s health officials is not fulfilled.

“We look forward to seeing those prosecutions to a successful end, which will then allow us to resume reimbursing legitimate expenses at the county level in Margibi, per our $55 million dollar Government-to-Government Health assistance program.” Ambassador McCarthy said.

It can be recalled, in February of 2023, there was leaked audio that embroiled the Margibi County Health Team administrators which saw them in financial impropriety that surfaced at the time the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Ministry of Health (MOH) Fixed Amount Reimbursement Agreement (FARA) Program is providing annual financial support of US$801,693.00 to the Margibi Health System.  

This action saw the Ministry of Health asking the LAC to proceed with the prosecution in accordance with its mandate to bring the matter to a logical and legal conclusion.

The ambassador during his media interaction on Wednesday, May 31, 2023, affirmed the US government’s support for the Ministry of Health’s recommendation to have the corrupt Margibi County Health Official prosecuted by the Liberia Anti Corruption Commission. 

“In the case of the appalling alleged kickback scheme of health funding for the people of Margibi County, caught on tape and courageously revealed by Liberia’s thriving Fourth Estate, I want to reiterate that we support Minister Jallah’s recommendation that Margibi County Health Officials be prosecuted by the LACC to the fullest extent of the law.” Ambassador McCarthy said.

At the same time, he frowned at the act of violence exhibited at the religious edify of a former warlord, now a politician and cleric, Prince Y. Johnson, when a group that claimed to be the youth wing of the National Patriotic Party (NPP), stormed the church and disrupted normal activities.

He believes that the political disruption was completely unacceptable, as such, he admonished political leaders that fulfillment of the Farmington declaration heavily relies on them, therefore, they should abstain from acts that have the propensity to cause chaos.

As they signed and committed themselves to the declaration, he said the need for them to abide by it begins now, if they truly believe in a free, fair, and transparent election.

Moreover, he wants the media to be more critical of the records and platforms of political actors and remind the public about what they stand to gain or lose.

The US ambassador went on to congratulate the security sector interagency team that used old-fashioned detective work to identify and raid pharmacies that were selling donated medicines, over the weekend.

He recorded that the joint security team in Karnplay prevented a suspect from smuggling stolen pharmaceutical drugs into Cote d’Ivoire.

He revealed that the drugs that had been smuggled were medicines purchased and donated by USAID and other international partners so that they could be given free of charge to those in need, but regretted that they were instead being sold by heartless, greedy pharmacists to make easy money.

An act he described as “stealing candy from a baby.”

Ambassador McCarthy stated that “these criminals were stealing donated medicine from the poorest Liberians – mostly children – to make a profit! It would be a lie to call this a victimless crime; I can tell you with no exaggeration that Liberians without resources have died unnecessarily over the past years because they were denied access to donated medicines.”

“These pharmaceutical products belong to the poor, and they have a right to receive them free of charge, Let short-sighted, heartless thieves understand- the police are on to you, and they will hunt you down! Prosecutors are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to prosecute you.” Ambassador McCarthy concluded.


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