Police Probe Otjozondjupa Health Fraud

THE police’s serious crime unit on Wednesday launched investigations into alleged fraud at the Otjozondjupa Regional Health Directorate.

Otjozondjupa regional police commander Joseph Anghuwo told Nampa that a case of fraud was opened at the Otjiwarongo Police Station by the office of the Otjozondjupa regional health director.

“We started with the investigations today so that we can first establish the number of people involved, and secondly to know the exact steps to take against the suspects,” said Anghuwo.

He said the police’s investigations will also reveal the method which the alleged suspects had applied to defraud the Ministry of Health and Social Services’ Otjozondjupa regional health directorate of over N$8,2 million.

According to a source at the health directorate who spoke on condition of anonymity, close to five suspects have been linked to the case.

It is alleged that some long serving staff-members of the directorate, including two accountants, had established a syndicate where false travelling claims were processed and money paid to their accomplices.

Senior officials at the Otjiwarongo State Hospital are said to be involved, and they are said to have each received N$50 000 in a single subsistence and travelling claim payment for trips they never undertook.

On her part, Otjozondjupa Regional Health Director Maria Kavezembi said the permanent secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Health and Social Services Andrew Ndishishi instructed her last Friday to open a case of fraud with the police.

She then referred questions to the police.

The syndicate is suspected to have operated between June 2006 and January 2013.

Ndishishi said the two accountants allegedly defrauded the ministry of millions of dollars.

Internal audit findings at the Otjozondjupa regional health office at Otjiwarongo in November 2013 led to charges being laid against the accountants, who are aged 40 and 53 respectively.

According to the source, they were in February this year relocated from their offices at the Otjozondjupa Health regional office to the Otjiwarongo District Hospital, where they are temporarily operating from. The relocation was meant to allow for investigations into the alleged fraud, which were carried out from November 2013 to January this year.

Nampa

Source : The Namibian