The Ministry of Health and Wellness says it is still waiting for the owners of Bamalete Lutheran Hospital (BLH) to conclude consultations regarding the handover of the health facility to government.
Government had expected the handing over process to have been done by mid June this year. The government intervened in the affairs of the hospital to save it from closure due to recurring administrative problems.
The government allocates BLH a grant of just over P14 million a year. Government has provided funding to the health facility since 1970s when it entered into a Grant Agreement for recurrent expenditure, including procurement of medical equipment.
The Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Alfred Madigele and other government officials recently met with both the hospital board and its management concerning missing funds from the hospital amounting to P16 million.
A forensic audit has revealed that the money had disappeared in the hands of management.
Deputy permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Moses Keetile on Wednesday said; “We are still waiting for the hospital owners to finish with their consultation meetings. The Ministry will be waiting for their proposal. Remember this is a sensitive matter. We had expected them to have finished consultation meetings by June but that did not happen.”
The hospital has been besieged by problems due to maladministration resulting in failure to pay workers on time, shortage of medicines and food rations for in-patients.
Still on the matter, Mmegi has learnt that the hospital owners admitted that they have a problem of running the hospital because they reside outside Botswana and they hardly visit to review the facility’s operations.
“The government’s main worry is that it cannot continue funding the hospital if the management cannot account for disbursed funds. Government also demands to know why some employees go for long periods without pay,” a source said.
Last year in the midst of the administrative and financial crisis, eight doctors and some radiologists at the hospital resigned.
Coupled with that, workers claimed they were owed up to P3 million in cumulative unpaid salaries, with some of the arrears dating back to 2010.
A some source disclosed that one employee is owed P202, 000 in unpaid salaries. Mmegi is informed that after years of late payments and salary arrears, disgruntled employees wrote to Office of the President and the board pleading for intervention.
In the unfolding puzzle, a Deloitte audit handed to the board last October, painted a picture of gross maladministration at the hospital.