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OP reveals DCEC probe at BLH

Center of investigation: Bamalete Lutheran Hospital PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
The Office of the President (OP) has said it will instruct the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) to look into allegations of corruption and malpractice at the Bamalete Lutheran Hospital (BLH) and its school of nursing.

The BLH and Bamalete Lutheran School of Nursing (BLSoN) employees have written a letter to the OP appealing for help from the high office, citing gross mismanagement at the institution. This follows a series of pay disputes that took place over several months last year at the hospital. The letter was also copied to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Members of Parliament, Board chairperson of the hospital, the hospital’s chief executive officer (CEO) and the BLSoN principal.

 The employees made damning allegations that included misuse of funds, fallacious audit reports, lack of promotions and poor remuneration.  “We would like to know if we are working for a proprietary limited company, as there has been a rumour that the BLH/SoN is not registered as an NGO, but is 100% funded by government. There is also a concern for the use of money in the institution. The employees suffer because of late payments due to misuse of money and poor planning by management,” read the letter in part. The employees also demanded a proper audit by a reputable company.

“The auditing firm (name withheld) has been doing the organisation’s audit, but there’s a marked incompetency in their work and they have been providing circuitous audit reports. We request that the audit sent to the finance department at the end of November 2017 be systematically scrutinised. It is very distressing to see government resources being misused,” the employees bemoaned. They also decried that budget for staff salaries was always overinflated, and yet management always failed to account for the money despite employees not spending all of the funds allocated.

The management is accused of hand-picking companies for tenders instead of following

normal tendering procedures. The employees felt the same has an impact in terms of managing projects. They alleged that an architect was hired and paid P356,000 for managing new school building works before the project even began.

They also questioned the employment of a clerk of works whom they say was interviewed and hired unprocedurally. Senior private secretary to the President, George Tlhalerwa said he received a copy of the letter from the hospital.

“We got the copy of the letter from the hospital after your enquiry, and we will write to the DCEC to look into the serious allegations made. We will also call on the Health ministry to institute investigations into the same,” he said. Tlhalerwa said the allegations stated in the letter could not be ignored. He said they would write to the Ministry of Health and Wellness to also assess the matter.

The BLH Board chairperson, Phenyo Segokgo said: “It is true I have received a copy of the letter. The Board will convene on February 28, 2018 and that’s when we will make a decision about the allegations”.

He said the Ministry of Health and Wellness would also institute an internal audit of the institution soon. BLH CEO, Moagi Mmitsi confirmed he has received his copy via fax.

“We don’t know the author of the letter and it has a signature on it. These allegations are not new to us, but we would have to wait for the Board to hear what it says. There is no truth in the allegations. We want these issues to be discussed and we feel the concerned employees could openly speak out so that we tell them the truth,” Mmitsi said.




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