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Media reports on Cosbert Inquiry ‘quite unfortunate’, can cause character assassination- Harmon

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Minister of State Joseph Harmon has described as quite unfortunate recent reports in the media on the Board of Inquiry recommendations into the procurement procedures of the Public Health Ministry.

Several sections of the media in the past three days have carried extensive reports on the recommendations, chief among them the removal of the Permanent Secretary, Mr Trevor Thomas.

Trevor Thomas, Permanent Secretary MoPH

Harmon in a question posed to him today (Friday, January 6, 2017) at the post cabinet media briefing confirmed that the Cabinet has received the report and would perhaps at next week’s sitting be deliberating on it. However, he has noted that “when things like that happen it affects the lives, it affects the reputation of persons who are judged by the public before they are given an opportunity to be heard as our laws require for people against whom there are allegations.”

According to Harmon it is now up to the Government to decide what is done with the report and its findings but he notes that unless there is a measured response to these recommendations there could be irreparable damage.

“The unfortunate thing about it is that characters are assassinated in that way unless you have a careful and measured response to some of the recommendations” he said.

Joseph Harmon and Winston Cosbert

The report on the unauthorized disclosure of information by staff and on the malpractice and mismanagement in the procurement of pharmaceuticals at the Ministry of Public Health put forward 21 recommendations including the removal of the Permanent Secretary, sanctions and training for other members of staff and a review of remuneration packages being offered to pharmacists at the ministry.

This inquiry was conducted by Retired Assistant Commissioner of Police Winston Cosbert.

 

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