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Ministry of Health in K265 million dubious allowances

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In the face of falling funding to the health sector, a report by the Auditor General for the 2015/16 financial year has shown that the Ministry of Health lost K265 million in allowances that were paid to dubious individuals who were officials of neither the ministry nor its implementing partners.

According to the report, K62 million in allowances were paid to non-deserving support staff such as secretaries and messengers, yet only medical personnel were entitled.

Apart from that, K400 million allowances were made to individuals that were not traceable, an indication that the money may have been stolen.

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The audit has also revealed that the ministry paid K74 million allowances using rates not on the approved list and a further K5 million was paid to some supporting staff who disguised their official designated positions and included themselves in activities where they were ineligible.

In addition, staff deliberately transposed figures to steal K13 million from the Support for Nutrition Improvement Project which senior staff paid themselves a total of K16 million at higher rates than those approved.

The development comes against the background of dwindling health care due to inadequate funding to the sector, which has seen admitted patients going for days without food, ambulances grounded and inadequate medicine.

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