Saah Joseph Overlooks President Weah Mandate – Instructs HR To Conduct Inspection On Pharmacies
“Yes, I had a meeting with them but I was acting on my oversight responsibility as a lawmaker and a member on the health committee,” Senator Saah Joseph admitted when he was contacted on his meeting with employees at the Liberia Medicine and Health Product Regulatory Authority (LMHRA).
Barely weeks ago President George M. Weah instructed that all communications or instructions instituted by Montserrado Senator Saah H. Joseph are considered nulled or canceled but information reaching The Monrovia Times has revealed that the lawmaker continues to ignore the President’s mandate.
In a telephone conversation last week, the Senator confirmed that he held a meeting with the employees at the LMHRA on Wednesday, August 21, 2019, but disclosed that he (Joseph) was exercising his oversight responsibility as a lawmaker by interfering after President Weah cancelled all of his (Joseph) actions.
Speaking further Senator Joseph also disclosed that during that meeting with the employees at the LMHRA, he instructed them to conduct inspections of all pharmacies in order to curtail the importation of fake drugs on the Liberian market.
The Lawmaker disclosed further that the LMHRA is struggling and do not have enough money for its day-to-day activities and at the same time conduct inspection.
“I have used my own money to help the institution, there is no utility vehicle to carry out the inspection but I have decided on my own to provide them a vehicle,” Senator Joseph noted.
But what beats the imagination of Liberians from different quarters is that Senator Joseph continues to follow activities of the LMHRA which they believe is not in his preview anymore because he is now the current chairman on Executive at the Liberian Senate.
It is known by many Liberians that the LMHRA is a revenue-generating entity and it is also responsible to ensure that medically supplied drugs system are safe, effective and good quality for the consumption of the public.
President Weah upon receiving the information about Senator Joseph usurping his function, he (President Weah) reacted to the communication and described the senator’s action as an unlawful act that runs contrary to Article 56A of the Constitution of Liberia which grants exclusive authority to the President of the Republic to appoint and or dismiss all such officials.
“The President has also expressed disapproval of this attempted usurpation of his function and reiterates his call to all officials of the government to carry out their duties in accordance with law and to work diligently to improve the lives of the Liberian people,” he said.
Meanwhile, President Weah has directed that all actions of appointment and dismissal carried out at LMHRA as a result of Senator Joseph’s communications are null. He has also directed the Minister of Finance to effect a freeze on all accounts of the entity pending a review of its financial records.
Despite the President call for the senator to stay away from the entity, the Montserrado County lawmaker is still taking major decisions at the LMHRA and instructing the current Human Resource (HR), who is not a pharmacist to conduct inspection which violates the Act the created the LMHRA.
Our investigation has shown that on Monday, August 19, 2019, at the hour of 4:00 PM, Senator Joseph held a meeting with employees at the offices of the LMHRA where the Senator instructed the Human Resource Manager in person of one Joseph Redd, a Reverend to immediately conduct inspection on all pharmacies in Liberia.
The Montserrado County Senator also instructed the finance department to ensure that all employees are placed on government payroll including the twenty-five persons he took there and ensure that their just benefit be given to them.
The discussion in the meeting was interactive with employees giving their views and input on issues affecting the entity.
He told the financial people that there is a plan audit to be conducted.
The senator disclosed that he capable of making the auditors delay the audit if the finance department is not prepared saying
“I am asking if you guys want the audit done now or later if you are not prepared now, I can tell you that I have the ability to ask for time to enable the finance department put documents together to enhance the auditing,” he said in the meeting.
Though it is the responsibility of the executive to ensure the perfect workings of the institution, the senator in the absence of the executive’s inability to run the LMHRA has threatened to dismiss any employee when caught in the act of given out information that are not necessary about the institution.
“Such person should be immediately fired from their position if they are caught giving information from this office,” he warned.
He, however, instructed the technical department to conduct a meeting among themselves on the running of the entity as he requested that said meeting findings be communicated to him (Senator Joseph) through his office.
He, however, caution all the new workers he took at the entity to work in line with the technical people in the various department to improve a good working environment and warned against any disorderly conduct as it relates to the function of the authority.
The Human Resource Manager, Pastor Joseph Redd who does not have any training, medicine or pharmacy may not be able to know the technical workings of conducting an inspection. The Act that establishes the LMHRA says that the Managing Director should be a qualified Liberian Pharmacist, to serve as the administrative and technical head of the Authority, and shall direct and administer the day-to-day activities of the Authority.
The institution is responsible to protect the Liberian public from the harmful effects of substandard and counterfeit medicines and health products. It also ensures fair trade practices in medicines and health products.
The entity also issues licenses or permits for premises and personnel to engage in the manufacture; import, export, transit in or out of the Republic of Liberia, supply, storage, distribution, or sale of medicines and health products, excluding retail pharmaceutical outlets.
Critics have accused the Senator of being friendly with some Indians and Lebanese who allegedly import fake drugs on the Liberian market, but the senator has denied of being in relationship or friendship of any person of such.
He said because he doesn’t have a connection with anyone, he has told the HR and other employees at the LMHRA to not exclude anyone during inspection but all pharmacies.