Zibe ‘in the dark’ over allegations

National, Normal

The National, Thursday, June 9th 2011

HEALTH Minister Sasa Zibe “is in the dark” about the Health Department’s decision to pull out as principal recipient of Global Fund.
He was also mystified about claims of gross abuse and mismanagement of these funds, his office said yesterday after acting Prime Minister Sam Abal ordered an investigation into these claims.
Zibe last week wrote to Health Secretary Dr Clement Malau to explain why the Health Department had withdrawn as principal recipient of Global Fund.
He also asked for an explanation on the nature and extent of all the allegations of financial abuse of K7 million by officers reported recently in the media.
“I am not aware of circumstances leading to the decision taken by you to withdraw Department of Health from its status as principal recipient of the Global Fund. That decision has been taken in isolation from key stakeholders which has now caused a major embarrassment to the government in the eyes of the international community,” Zibe said in the June 3 letter, copies of which were released to the media.
Malau could not be reached for comment yesterday because he was on compassionate leave while the two deputy secretaries were out of the office.
It was understood that Malau had prepared a media statement yesterday in response to the allegations raised in the media recently but the minister had not approved the release as of 5pm yesterday.
A copy of the release was faxed to Zibe’s office who was reportedly away in Lae on electoral issues.
“The minister has directed the secretary to come up with the full report in response to the allegations to present to Abal but we have not received any reports,” a spokesperson for the minister said yesterday.
Zibe, in his letter to Malau, had demanded that the report on allegations be ready before yesterday but no report was written, the spokesperson said.
Abal has ordered an investigation into the allegations and directed minister for an urgent report on these allegations.