Police detectives along with Auditors from the Ministry of Finance have been called in to conduct a joint probe at the Ministry of Public Health into allegations of fraud.
Health Minister Volda Lawrence announced on Tuesday that the investigations are being conducted into the “misappropriation of funds and the blatant attempts to steal” public funds.
According to a release from the Ministry, Lawrence who is a professional accountant, told staff members during a meeting that she does not intend to tolerate dishonest employees.
In the reported frank discourse with senior MOPH officials, the Public Health Minister raised questions about “blatant attempts to steal” and other brazen dishonest acts perpetrated by MOPH employees. Lawrence said the police and officials from the Ministry of Finance will carry out open investigations into ongoing corrupt practices by staff members.
“Fraud has been ongoing a long time at the Public Health Ministry”, Lawrence said.
Cautioning programme managers, who appeared stunned by her revelations, Lawrence said, “I am advising you to check what you sign and ensure it meets the regulatory requirements and it is in keeping with your programmes.”
Lawrence reiterated, “I will not compromise on the issue of accountability within the public health sector’.
The Minister did not hide her distaste at employees who have been accused “sabotaging the Ministry left, right and centre.” Some workers have even been sending missives on internal MOPH matters to persons outside the Public Service Structure, Lawrence revealed.
She indicated that letter writers will shortly have the opportunity to “bring the evidence” to support their claims.
Less threatening, but equally toxic, she said, is the issue of insubordination, which is rife among some categories of employees.
“Some parts of the MOPH train have been derailed (and) the madness has to stop,” Minister Lawrence said.