By Uganda Online Media
Kampala: The State House ant corruption (Health Monitoring Unit ) has spoken on the ongoing investigations into Mulago National Referral Hospital officials, led by Executive Director Dr. Byarugaba Baterana.
Baterana was arrested along with other five senior officials from Mulago hospital on Monday this week by the State House Unit, which was established by President Museveni to investigate corruption in the Health Sector.
Following the shocking news of the arrest which came out Tuesday, the Unit Executive Director Dr. Warren Namara, today has cleared the air about the investigation, which he said has been running since last year.
According to Namara, Dr. Byarugaba Baterana’s troubles stem from the shs28.8 billion allegedly spent by the national referral hospital but unaccounted for.
Namara noted that following complaints by some members of the public in April last year, they started an investigation into the procurement processes, drugs, human resource management and finances at the hospital leading to a number of queries that culminated into Baterana’s arrest.
“A total of 65 staff both serving and retired were interviewed and statements recorded and so far it has been established that a total of shs974 million is unaccounted for the period of two years of July 2019 to 2021. The accounting officer(Baterana) failed to notify the Accountant General about missing vouchers amounting to shs5.27 billion” Dr.Namara said in a statement.
According to the statement, in November 2016, Mulago contracted two companies including MS Setramaco International Limited and MS Convention World Limited to provide a number of services including running the laundry machines, central sterile supply department and steam boilers among others.
Dr. Namara further noted that investigations based on forged job cards worked completion certificates and duplicated activities indicated that the two companies were paid by Mulago close to shs20 billion but this was never accounted for causing loss to the government under dubious and fictitious payments.
The State House Health Monitoring Unit also explained that investigations unearthed suspicious procurement processes of medicines and other medical supplies done by private health facilities.
“The investigating team also conducted verification of supplies allegedly procured from First Pharmacy by the hospital. The verifications were prompted upon establishing from IFMS payment statements obtained from the Accountant General indicating that during the period under investigation, Mulago had paid First Pharmacy a total of shs1.4 billion as payments for medicines procured and supplied under emergency orders presumably after running out of National Medical Stores supplied stocks,” Dr. Namara added
He explained that further investigations indicated that there were anomalies in the said procurement from the private pharmacy.
The State House Health Monitoring Unit boss also noted that they found several other anomalies with the procurement process and supply of drugs to Mulago hospital.
He noted that a month back, the unit invited Dr.Baterana to explain a few issues with the anomalies and that he told them he was not well and that he would only appear later with his lawyer.
Dr.Namara explained that on the agreed date, the Mulago hospital boss never showed up, prompting the unit to swing into action arresting him.
He said Dr.Baterana is currently being held on charges of false accounting, causing financial loss to the government, and embezzlement.