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Ministry consults AG on K2.5 billion scam

The Ministry of Health has said it is consulting the office of the Attorney General on what should be done following revelations by National Audit Office (Nao) report that K2.5 billion meant for Aids intervention was stolen.

Principal Secretary in the ministry, McPhail Magwira, Thursday said they are making sure that all procedures on the issue are followed before any action is taken.

“The law definitely is going to take its course. We are consulting the Attorney General on what to do next,” Magwira said.

Minister of Health, Peter Kumpalume, said the report is based on an audit which was done following the sending of 63 officials from the ministry on unpaid leave in December last year.

The action was taken after the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had written the ministry explaining that they suspected some officials from the HIV project, which they fund, were getting allowances but not actually attending meeting or visiting the field.

The ministry at that time said that some of the suspended people were directors of Human Resources, Finance and HIV and Aids.

According to Kumpalume, they would like to take a strong case to court.

“We don’t want to lose the case once the matter is taken to court. That’s why we want to follow all steps,” Kumpalume said.

The report reveals that a total of K2,520,272,421.62 was stolen between 2013 and 2015.

Meanwhile, health rights activist, Maziko Matemba, has condemned the theft.

“It is very sad to hear that almost K2 billion was lost. Civil servants work on public trust. They are supposed to work honestly. These revelations are a wake-up call. I believe government will put in place measures that will end this malpractice,” Matemba said.

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