From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
MP Says Health Minister is Fraudulent in Sierra Leone
By Augustine Samba
Feb 20, 2009, 17:20

The Minister of Health and Sanitation yesterday Thursday 19th February 2009 made yet another appearance before the House of Parliament to answer to questions from Sierra Leone People’s Party’s Honourable Eric Jumu, a session that witnessed the unearthing of an alleged fake ‘minute’ presented by the minister.

Dr. Soccoh Kabia presented a document to parliament, justifying the appointment of H.H. Lawson to act as Chairman of the Pharmacy Board in the absence of the substantial holder, Bassie Turay.

According to the Minister, the said document which was the minutes of a meeting held by Board Members of the Pharmacy Board shows that the decision to appoint Mr. Harold Lawson was not taken by him but by the board members themselves. He said all he did was to approve the decision.

Hon. Eric Jumu told the House that after a thorough examination of the said document, "it was unearthed that the document presented to parliament by the minister was in fact a fake one".

This, according to the Honourable MP, came in the wake of an exposure of a fake minute that was presented to Parliament on Tuesday 17th February 2009, which "I earlier raised concern on it authenticity."

Accordingly, the two documents show a difference in the number of people that attended the meeting.

In Dr. Soccoh Kabia’s own document, the last sentence in paragraph two reads as thus: "It was however resolved that since Mr. Lawson was currently holding the position of Director of Drugs and Medical Supplies the Director of Drugs should continue to hold the position of chairman", while the earlier document only indicated that "Mr. H.H. Lawson was however elected chairman for that meeting".

According to Hon. Jumu, the document presented yesterday by the Minister indicates that one Mr. Harold Hanciles was present at the meeting, which is in sharp contract with the Tuesday document in which the aforementioned name was conspicuously absent.

To ascertain the truth of the matter, this reporter contacted Mr. Harold Hanciles (one of the board members) at his Regent Road resident in Freetown, where Mr. Hanciles confirmed that he did not attend the said meeting. "We held an emergency meeting on the 12th of April 2008, and not on the 26th of April", Mr. Hanciles said, adding that since the April 12th meeting was declared as illegal by the Secretary of the Board, Wiltshire Johnson, he has ever since ceased to attend meetings of the board.

Meanwhile, Parliament has resolved that the matter be referred to the Health Oversight Committee for further probing.

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