K1 billion lost in Ministry of Health allowance scam


Close to K1 billion is what the Ministry of Health has failed to account for after paying allowances, a June 2016 audit reveals, highlighting never- ending fraudulen t activities that have paralysed the country’s health sector.

The audit report says K882,256,021 spent last year did not have backing documents such as invoices and receipts. It further says payments were made in form of allowances, part of the money was paid to people that could not be traced while other payments were made using rates that are not approved.

About K265 million was paid out in allowances to officers who are not bonafide civil servants and K399 million was paid out to people that cannot be traced whereas K61 million was paid to non-deserving staff.


“It was discovered that money amounting to K61,537,000.000 was paid to non-deserving staff. K265,423,140 was paid to officers who are not bonafide civil servants. K399,421,090.00 was paid to officers whose names cannot be traced. K73,475,400.00 was paid using inflated rates,” reads the 2016 financial audit report.

The list is endless but all the money spent is more than enough to treat Clement Shaibu and the 180 patients who have been waiting for special treatment abroad.

Shaibu was involved in a car accident when he was only a year and six months old. Today, he uses a catheter to urinate but his status can change once he gets special treatment abroad


According to Health Ministry officials, the allocation for international referrals is at K500 million.

The audit report, which discloses weaknesses in financial and internal controls in the implementation of Centre for Disease Control Malawi funding activities, says that allowances were paid to non-medical personnel which included secretaries and messengers.

“We believe these officers were included for the sake of drawing the allowances and were not involved in the actual assignment. These officers, therefore, received allowances for an assignment they never participated [in] and should be disciplined accordingly,” says the report.

The auditors obtained the establishment warrant of the ministry to cross-check the list of employees, including district health offices, and database of employees from the Human Resources Management System. But these names could not be traced in the database of government employees.

“We therefore considered these individuals as dubiously included on the programme with intent to defraud public funds.”

A review of payment vouchers and other documentation noted medical personnel obtained allowances using the designation of other medical personnel that is different from what they hold. For example, the report says that “Hospital attendants and health surveillance officers were indicated as nurses and medical assistants indicated as pharmacy technicians and received allowances such as ART/PMTC refresher trainings.”

The report reveals that the ministry failed to prepare bank reconciliations and payment Management System Reconciliations, an accounting requirement for any organisation to prepare monthly bank reconciliations. The ministry failed to prepare the reconciliation for the entire period under review.

The report also notes that money was mismanaged from the Support for Nutrition Improvement Project where external travel allowances were paid at higher rates.

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