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Sierra Leone charges 29 with defrauding Gates Fund

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — The head of Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Commission says that 29 government health officials will appear in court on corruption charges for having allegedly defrauded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s vaccine program.

Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara told The Associated Press that the government’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Kisito Sheku Daoh, six other medical doctors and 22 health officials are charged with defrauding the Gates Foundation’s Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization Fund of $523,000. He said all those charged are out on bail and scheduled to appear in court on March 18.

The Gates Foundation’s immunization fund has suspended payments of $6 million to Sierra Leone over the allegations of misuse of funds.

The immunization fund has disbursed more than $27 million to Sierra Leone since 2001.

Associated Press