Guard, businessperson in over hospital drugs

Police in Mzuzu have arrested a guard at Mapale Health Centre, Boss Bongololo and businessperson Chuska Mzumala for being found with assorted medical drugs believed to have been stolen from a government hospital.

Mzumala has since been granted police bail while the guard was, as of yesterday, still in custody.

An artist’s impression of the arrest

Northen Region police spokesperson Peter Kalaya said Mzumala was arrested on Tuesday at his shop in Mchengautuba Township, during a sweeping exercise

He said the exercise followed a tip-off that Mzumala illegally sells medical drugs at his shop.

Kayala alleged that a search at his shop and house led to the recovery of a stack of medical drugs secured in bags and cartons. He said after interrogations on the source of the medical drugs, Mzumala revealed that he was being supplied the drugs by Bongololo.

“Following this up, police also raided Bongololo’s house on April 13 2018, where they also recovered another stash of drugs and 16 mosquito nets.”

According to Kayala, the recovered drugs include 263 packets of metro abendezol, 51 packets of amoxyline, 76 packets of dichrofenac, 24 tubes of gentamycin eye/ear tubes, 10 units of Sabtamol and tetracycline.

He said police suspect some senior officers at the health centre are involved in this syndicate.

“The sweeping exercise, which was intelligence-led, also led to the recovery of various counterfeit products and liquid fuel which were being kept illegally,” he said.

The two will appear in court soon to answer charges of theft by servant and being found in possession of medical drugs without a licencce.

Mzumala, 42, comes from Mwankhunikira Village, T/A Mwankhunikira in Rumphi while Bongololo, 46, comes from Mwanjanja Village, T/A Ntharile in Chitipa.

Last year, Ministry of Health (MoH) said about K1.5 billion worth of drugs had been stolen at various levels in the public health sector in 2016.

In May 2016, a report titled Assessment of Drugs and Medical Supplies Stores and Public Health Facilities commissioned by MoH showed that a third of drug stocks in public hospitals were being lost through pilferage almost 10 years after the ministry suggested measures to curb theft.

Former Minister of Health Peter Kumpalume said K5 billion worth of drugs and medical supplies out of a MoH drug budget of K17 billion were stolen in the 2015/16 financial year.

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