Legal Nigeria

Court extends settlement period in alleged mismanagement of $14 million Ebola

By Oludare Richards

The ECOWAS Court has scheduled April 12, 2022 to hear the status of the terms of settlement between a Non-Governmental Organisation and the Republic of Sierra Leone over the mismanagement of $14 million contributed by the international community to enable the country curb the Ebola epidemic.

During the February 3, 2022 hearing in the suit filed by the Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law, Hawa Jalloh and Fatima Sessay, counsel for the applicants, Mr Oludayo Fagbemi, told the court that the process of settlement between both parties was lingering, adding that the applicants will therefore be willing to proceed for hearing of the suit should the settlement fail.

The Republic of Sierra Leone was not represented in court.

In the suit ECW/CCJ/APP/07/18 filed on January 23, 2018 by their counsel, the applicants alleged that the mismanagement of the funds constitute a violation of their fundamental rights by the government of Sierra Leone. 

Mr Fagbemi said that the Sierra Leonean government’s mismanagement of the Ebola funds and failure to dedicate maximum available resources to the Ebola response violated the rights to life and health of the second (Jalloh) and third (Sessay) applicants and others who were infected or died from the Ebola epidemic.

He added that some 14,000 Sierra Leoneans contracted the disease over two years, half of those infected in West Africa, of which 4,000 died. 

He also alleged that the government failed to carry out a timely and effective investigation of mismanaged funds amounting to $14 Million for curtailing the Ebola epidemic.

The counsel therefore urged the court to hold the Sierra Leonean government liable for the violations and award general and specific damages to Hawa Jalloh, Fatimata Sessay and others similarly affected.

On the panel were Justices Edward Amoako Asante (presiding), Gberi-Be Ouattara and Dupe Atoki.