Africa

Liberia’s Health Minister Designate Faces Setback At Confirmation Hearing

The new Weah Administration in the West African nation of  Liberia is still in its formative stage with the President making appointments to fill top government positions.

Senator George Weah of CDC

President George Weah of  Liberia

One of those is for the position of Health Minister. But The confirmation of controversial Health Minister-designate, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah suffered another setback Monday when members of the Liberian Senate abruptly cut off her confirmation hearing.

 

The decision of the lawmakers to cut off Dr. Jallah’s confirmation hearing is the result of her failure to give the true story over the death of late Pastor Desiree Fahnbulleh who mysteriously died at the Women of Hope Health Center in Paynesville.

During Monday’s confirmation hearing, one of the Senators quizzed Dr. Jallah as to whether the matter relating to the death of Madam Fahnbulleh was still in court but the Health Minister-designate initially denied that as far as she was concerned, the case was not in court.

When pressed by Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence of Grand Bassa County on the status of the case, Dr. Jallah later confessed that the case was still in court and that no determination has been made by the court.

The conflicting statement from Dr. Jallah infuriated the Senators with some accusing her (Dr. Jallah) of lying under oath. Some of the Senators decided to leave the Chamber of the Senate but were calmed down by their colleagues.

Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah

Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah

Following consultation amongst the lawmakers, they decided to postpone the confirmation of Dr. Jallah to a later date which was not stated. This was the first appearance of Dr. Jallah before the Liberian Senate for her confirmation hearing since she was nominated by President George M. Weah a month ago.

At the same time, report gathered from sources at the  legislative seat of government  – the Capitol Building revealed that President Weah is heavily lobbying with the Senate for the confirmation of Dr. Jallah. The  President’s motive  is unclear but several individuals and groups including the Liberia Medical Dental Council of Liberia are calling on the Liberian Senate to place a hold on the confirmation of Dr. Jallah until the legal matter is settled.

Family of the late Pastor Desiree Fahnbulleh are also appealing to the Liberian Senate not to confirm Dr. Jallah until “justice” can be served over the death of their family member.

Following the appointment of Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah as Health Minister-designate a month ago, her family has been claiming that the Health Minister appointee is culpable for the death of their relative and continues to protest her nomination. Larry Fahnbulleh, widower of the late Pastor Desiree Fahnbulleh, who is leading the family protest,  urging President George Weah to withdraw Dr. Jallah’s appointment.

Recently, Mr. Fahnbulleh tearfully said, “We are hurt, deeply frustrated over the nomination of Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah as Minister of Health of the Republic of Liberia,” said Mr. Fahnbulleh at a press conference on Wednesday, February 7 in Monrovia.

Members of Liberia Senate

Members of Liberia Senate

Dr. Jallah is an experienced practicing general physician in obstetrics and Gynecology. The Health Minister-designate is currently facing a lawsuit for the ‘wrongful death’ of the late Pastor Desiree Fahnbulleh, who died at her private hospital – Hope for Women International Incorporated Hospital – during childbirth on December 8, 2016.

The Fahnbulleh family filed a US$6 million action of damages for wrongful death lawsuit against the hospital with 6th Judicial Circuit Civil Law Court at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia.

The Fahnbullehs are now furious and disheartened that while the case is not yet adjudicated the accused has been nominated as Minister of Health by President George Weah.

Liberia-Guinea Map

Liberia

Many are becoming to the belief that that Dr. Jallah will be second minister appointed by President George M. Weah that will be withdrawn because of the accusation levied.

Reporting by Lincoln Barcon in Monrovia

West African Journal