By Uganda Online Media
Kampala: The Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary, Dr.Diana Atwine has interdicted troubled Mulago hospital Executive Director, Dr.Byaruhanga Baterana with immediate effect over the 28.8 billion scandals.
Baterana was on Tuesday arrested together with six other officials from Mulago by the State House Health Monitoring Unit for the ongoing investigation into shs28.8 billion which allegedly disappeared in thin air and unaccounted for at Mulago national referral hospital.
In a letter dated March 2, 2022, Dr.Atwine informed Baterana that owing to the ongoing investigations into abuse of office, embezzlement, causing financial loss, and fraudulent false accounting, it is prudent he steps aside to pave way for investigations.
“Pursuant to section F-s and F-r of the Public Service Standing Orders 2021, you are hereby interdicted for duty to pave way for investigations and you will receive half pay with immediate effect until the charges against you have been cleared,” Dr.Atwine says in the letter.
According to the letter, Dr.Baterana has been asked to hand over office to his deputy, Dr.Rosemary Byanyima but also to keep away from Mulago hospital until advised otherwise and also barred from leaving the country.
” You are therefore required to hand over your work and office to the deputy director, Dr. Rosemary Byanyima in accordance with section f-d(4) of the public service standing orders and keep away from your duty station until you are advised otherwise. During the period of interdiction, you shall not leave the country without my written permission,” Atwine added in her letter.
The development comes a few hours after Baterana who had been detained at Jinja Road Police station was released on police bond but his passport was confiscated.
The State House Health Monitoring Unit director, Dr.Warren Namara told journalists on Wednesday 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.
He explained that 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.
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 said.