The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has interdicted the three members of the Upper East Regional Hospital’s staff involved in massive thefts of government drugs.
One of the interdicted workers is a wife to a GHS regional administrator.
Thirty-four boxes of medicines stolen from the government hospital were retrieved during their arrests in August, 2023, after a months-long investigation by Media Without Borders’ Edward Adeti exposed their operations.
The medicines, manufactured in 2022 and supplied to the facility by the Ministry of Health (MoH), are due to expire in 2025.
The three workers— the hospital’s drug storekeeper, Fasilat Raheem, as assistant dispensary officer at the hospital’s pharmacy, Bridget Banoeyelle, and a driver at the facility, Raymond Asoke— are currently standing trial at a Circuit Court in the Upper East Region’s capital, Bolgatanga.
Government prosecutors have charged them with stealing, conspiracy and abetment of stealing.
“They are on interdiction. That is what the code of conduct says. We also have our internal disciplinary procedures you go through when you misconduct yourself or when you commit an offence.
“The service has a policy for minor and major offences. The policy is what we are going to follow and that has been done. It has been done,” the hospital’s administrator, Samuel Atuba, confirmed in an interview with Media Without Borders on Thursday, 7 September 2023.
Salaries paid, allowances withheld
The hospital’s authorities say the three interdicted staff will also face a disciplinary committee instituted by the GHS while their criminal trial is in progress at the Circuit Court.
According to the GHS’s Code of Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures, the three employees will continue to receive their salaries but their allowances will be withheld while on interdiction.
“The interdiction shall remain in force until an inquiry has been concluded and the decision of the disciplinary authority has been conveyed to the employee but in any case should not exceed nine months. An employee on interdiction shall receive his/her gross monthly salary however no allowances shall be paid during this period.
“Where the employee has not been found guilty, his/her appropriate allowances withheld shall be restored and reimbursed to him/her in full where appropriate. An employee on interdiction shall make himself/herself available to his/her immediate supervisor and the investigating authority when requested to do so,” the code says on conditions of interdiction.
It adds: “An employee on interdiction shall not travel outside the country without express permission from the Director-General of the Service. An interdicted employee can petition the GHS Council if he/she is dissatisfied with the interdiction or the decision of the Director-General.”
Explaining the circumstances for interdiction of GHS employees, the code says interdiction is effected “where the employee concerned is likely to interfere with the formal investigation process, where criminal proceedings are being instituted against an employee and where the employee is being investigated on grounds of professional incompetence or malpractice.”
The three accused persons are due to reappear in court on Monday, 18 September 2023. Police say the accused persons have refused to name those who buy the stolen medicines from them.
Source: Media Without Borders/mwbonline.org