Wednesday, 15 June 2016

$107 MILLION HEALTH FUND SCAM EXPOSED

SOME irregularities have been unearthed in the disbursement of a large chunk of the $107 million that was given to several health institutions under the Targeted Approach Programme.


These include the violation of tender procedures and procurement of obsolete equipment, among others.

A parliamentary portfolio committee on Health and Child Care yesterday said there was no proper supervision on the programme that was meant to give life to ailing health institutions.
The committee’s investigations were triggered by Mberengwa North MP Cde Tafanana Zhou (Zanu-PF) who raised a red flag on Mnene Mission in his constituency after allegations of failure to properly account for about $700,000 given to it.

Some of the observations were that budget and resource allocation was not above board while provincial medical directors and Zimbabwe Association of Church Related Hospitals were by-passed by the parent Ministry and could not supervise the programme.

“Tender procedures were flawed as the same company was contracted in almost all hospitals while mission hospitals did not have the capacity to manage large sums of money and there was a lax financial system that allowed leakage of funds into individual pockets,” said Bulawayo Metropolitan MP Nomvula Mguni (MDC-T) while presenting the committee report.

It was noted that PMDs were by-passed and were told not to interfere with the programme.

“Most of the hospitals negligently purchased dysfunctional equipment, disbursement of funds were inconsistent resulting in the stalling of some projects and Ministry of Health and Child Care disbursed funds to mission hospitals without receiving acquittals from these institutions,” said Mguni.

The committee recommended disciplinary action against those that deviated from procedure.

“At Mnene, the committee was informed that tenders were approved by the Ministry of Health and Child Care and not by the hospital procurement and tender committee. It was further stated that some tenders that were approved by the State Procurement Board were overridden by the Ministry of Health and Child Care,” said Mguni.

Bikita West MP Munyaradzi Kereke (Zanu-PF) said while the report was good, there was a need to make such investigations on time and not several years later.

“Here we are looking at a proficient report borne out of a hardworking committee but it is looking at 2012 long after the horse has bolted. We need to ensure that government audits are as current as possible,” said Kereke.

Gutu South MP Paul Chimedza (Zanu-PF) said most of the anomalies occurred during the inclusive government and it was the MDC-T that held the Ministry of Finance and Health and Child Care portfolios respectively.

Binga North MP Prince Sibanda (MDC-T) complained that hospitals from Matabeleland region got paltry amounts while those from other areas got the bulk of the money.
Some of the hospitals visited include Mutambara, Mtshabezi, Kariyangwe, St Albert and ChikombedzI.

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