Employees set fire to Central Medical Stores to cover up theft and fraud – Report

Fire at medical storesInvestigation into the fire outbreak at the Central Medical Stores (CMS) has established that the fire was deliberately set to destroy evidence of theft and massive fraud.

The destruction of evidence was the fact that the Economic and Organised Crime Office, was tasked to investigate the circumstances surrounding the expiration of large quantities of drugs and medical items at the stores.

A stock count of all medical consumables was  also be slated for January 13, 2015 to be used for an exhaustive audit of supplies made to the CMS and allocations to health institution in 2014.

However, on that day there was a fire outbreak at the stores, during, which large stock of medical supplies and records were destroyed.

At a news conference in Accra on Friday, to throw light on the report, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Marietta-Brew-Appiah-Opong said the fraud in procurement and allocation to health institution and their imminent discovery by the planned investigation and audit provided the motive for the sponsorship of the arson.

According to the report the arsonist Samuel Dogbe, a labourer at CMS is currently at large and is been sought after by security agencies.

Among the irregularities and fraudulent activities in the procurement and allocation to health institution revealed by national security investigation were the malaria Control Programme managers and diversion of large quantities of anti-malarial drugs meant for public institutions.

The manipulation of recording system software for recording levels of medical supplies and keeping track of allocation rendering it ineffectual and facilitating of massive diversion of medical items.

The report said some drugs were falsely declared to be closed to expiry so that permission was granted for its destruction and then sold to private pharmacy, while expired drugs from private pharmacy shops were swapped for good drugs.

Other drugs such as 50 boxes of assorted anti-malarial were hoarded by two officers of CMS who claimed the stores had run out of those drugs while directives to discontinue deliveries to private hospitals were also evaded.

According to the report the National Security identified the following persons as been responsible for the systematic theft of large quantities of medical supplies and irregularities in procurement and allocations to health intuitions.

They are Peter Ekow Gyimah, Former Head of CMS, Alhaji Yusif Inua, Member of the Interim Management Committee, Iddrisu Abdul Karim, Acting Head of CMS, Esi Makankatha- Principal Pharmacist/Warehouse Mangaer and Zeboat Doh – Warehouse Manager.

Others are Ibrahim Laryeh Amartey, Line Warehouse Manager/general Pharmaceuticals Unit, Kwami Foli, Warehouse Manager, Mathias Senaya, Warehouse Manager/General Pharmaceuticals and Victoria Anning, Senior Supply Officer/Stores.

The rest are James Benjamin Annan, Pharmacist/systems Analyst and Peter Ataba Addah, Store keeper
Government has therefore directed the interdiction of the culprits named individuals until the final determination of their cases submit to the provision of Human Resource Management Policy Framework Manual for Ghana Public Services

Government has also accepted the modified recommendations in the investigation report, including the carrying out of a proper forensic audit to unearth the extent to which consumable and non-consumable drugs were diverted in addition to the setting up of an Audit Task Force to undertake the exercise.

The report also recommended that a forensic audit be carried into a transaction between Volta Impex and the Ministry of Health involving the payment of GH¢5 million to Volta Impex for the supply of two million prescription forms to the National Health Insurance Scheme.

Health Minister Alex Segbefia said government would tackle the CMS issue to the letter and that the rule of law would be followed.

He said the corruption does not wear political colours.

According the minister a supply chain management has been put in place while preparation of rebuilding and tightening of procurement process is ongoing in addition to the removal of all staff at the CMS prior to the arson.

Source: GNA

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