Health ministry pair chucked out of Parly

HEALTH and Child Welfare secretary Gerald Gwinji and the ministry’s finance director Leonard Mabandi were yesterday chucked out of Parliament for failing to logically answer questions posed by members of the Public Accounts Portfolio Committee.

REPORT BY VENERANDA LANGA

The pair had been asked to appear before the committee to explain the alleged misappropriation of large sums of money as recorded in 2009/2010 audit reports compiled by the Comptroller and Auditor-General.

“It seems you are unable to give satisfactory answers to the committee and the best thing is to ask you to go back and bring the necessary documents on Friday,” said committee acting chairperson and Highfield West MP Simon Hove before ordering the pair to leave the House.

“Your ministry received a huge allocation from the Budget and we want assurance that it is not going to waste money which is supposed to benefit the populace.”

According to 2009/2010 Comptroller and Auditor General reports, the Ministry of Health had failed to account for $72 116 at its head office, $68 456 losses at different district hospitals, and a further R18 981 that was misappropriated at Banket District Hospital, among other cases of misappropriation of funds.

The reports indicated that most hospitals were using unorthodox means of keeping cash, including placing money in drawers, handbags or insecure rooms.

“We want to know if there are cash boxes at hospitals because, for example, at Mutoko District Hospital cash was kept in a drawer. At Shurugwi District Hospital cash was kept in a handbag and at Chimhanda District Hospital the cash that had been receipted did not agree with the cash on hand. Other hospitals like Shamva and Filabusi do not have any monthly reconciliation,” Hove said.

MPs also quizzed Gwinji over the whereabouts of 50 vehicles which were purchased from Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries in 2011 and alleged cannibalisation of vehicles at some hospitals.

Gwinji said the 50 vehicles had since been delivered and distributed to different district hospitals.

He said the ministry had started providing management lessons to its staff to mitigate financial leakages and to help them keep proper records.

Gwinji said some of the misappropriations had happened before his appointment as secretary for the ministry.

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