The Ministry of Health is facing scrutiny over increased costs and poor quality work in the rehabilitation of 12 government hospitals and construction of three offices in various districts, according to a recent Audit Report by Andit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL).

The report highlighted that contracts worth SLE75,493,118 were awarded to 15 contractors in 2021, with advance payments totaling SLE21,342,544. However, anomalies in contract administration led to higher costs and substandard work.

One major concern raised was the lack of consultant engineers to monitor and supervise the contracts, as required by law. Additionally, contract durations were not included in the terms, resulting in delays and slow progress.

The Audit recommended immediate hiring of consultants and contract reviews. The Ministry of Health attributed delays in hiring consultants to delays by the Ministry of Finance in issuing approval certificates.

However, the Ministry failed to provide evidence of reminder letters to the Ministry of Finance regarding these delays. As of the report, consultant engineers had not been sourced, and contract reviews had not been completed.

The Ministry of Health acknowledged the issues and pledged to address them in collaboration with the Procurement Committee and Ministry of Finance.