How ‘bosses colluded to defraud’ SKMTH

Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital PIC: PHATSIMO KAPENG
Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital PIC: PHATSIMO KAPENG

An internal audit titled Assessment of Terminal Benefits of former Commissioning Manager (CM) carried out at the Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital (SKMTH) has revealed that former Hospital CM, Dr Thato Moumakwa benefited an amount of P129,646.45 as a direct result of an illicit salary restructuring.

The report was released on April 2021. The audit signed by Internal audit manager, Samuel Segotso, states that without authorisation, Moumakwa, former human resources manager Mereenayotlhe Molonda and finance manager Kutlwano Mswela colluded to manipulate the CM's salary and defrauded the organisation by awarding him more pay than contracted for, in leave days and committed allowance. According to the report, Internal Audit received a request from the then chairperson of the SKMTH Board of Directors, Dr Goabamang Tsie on March, 16, 2021, to assess whether proper procedures were followed by management in processing of the terminal benefits for Moumakwa. The auditors stated that the matter of the remuneration of the CM is the responsibility of the Board, and therefore, the Board chairperson must sign off the approved salary and benefits of the CM.

The engagement contract of Moumakwa was signed off by the Board chairperson, Tsie, detailing therein the approved remuneration package constituted as follows; Basic salary of P640,472.00 annually (P53,372.67 monthly), car allowance of P96,070.80 annually (P8,005.90 monthly); housing allowance of P192,141.60 (P16,011.80 monthly); utility allowance P35,225.96 (P2,935.50 monthly); entertainment allowance of P19,214.16 (P1,601.17); Gratuity of P192,141.60 (P16,011.80); and retention allowance of P384,733.88 (P32,061.17 monthly). This made his guaranteed package P1,560,000.00 annually and P130,000.00 monthly. In May 2020, Moumakwa encashed 20 leave days and received P49,976.22. The amount was based on his basic salary of P54,973.84. The original basic salary of P53,372.67 had been adjusted for inflation at 3% during 2020/21 along with the salaries of all other SKMTH staff following the Board’s approval.

The audit stated that on interviewing the financial accountant, Mbaakanyi Kenosi, it was explained that Moumakwa was surprised and displeased with the amount he had been paid citing that he had expected the computation to be based on his total gross earnings, and not on the basic salary. “Kenosi explained that the financial policies of the organisation stipulated that the basic salary be the basis for computation of leave encashment, gratuity and committed allowance. Dr Moumakwa proceeded to engage Molonda and Mswela respectively, on the matter. It was on this basis that Molonda wrote a memo dated 10 August 2020 wherein he restructured Moumakwa’s contracted package with the sole aim of increasing CM’s basic salary which consequently would increase leave pay and committed allowance,” reads the audit report. Molonda is said to have then added up the basic pay and all allowances of CM’s package, introduced a social benefits allowance, and applied 70% of the total to generate the new basic salary of P93,732.13 from P54,973.85. This raised Moumakwa’s total annual package from P1,560,000.00 to P1,606,836.48 annually and P133,903.04 monthly.

The basic was P1,124.785.54 annually. In addition, he got committed overtime allowance of P321,367.30 or P18,746.43 monthly. He then pocketed a cool P112,478.56 monthly.

The auditors stated that the memo written by Molonda was addressed to Mswela, who indeed acknowledged it and signed it placing him in a position of complicity in the matter. “Molondo, Mswela and indeed Moumakwa all knew and understood that all matters pertaining to CM’s remuneration were an exclusive Board matter, and therefore they were fully conscious that they were acting beyond their authority. Following the revision of CM’s salary in August 2020, an additional P35,234.80 was paid to Dr Moumakwa to top up the May payout of P49,976.22,” the auditors stated. In addition to the leave payout, CM’s committed allowance which previously stood at P10,994.77 would be revised to P18,746.43 and effected retrospectively to April 2020.

This resulted in a back pay amounting to P38,758.28 for him. From August 2020 to the end of his contract term four months later in December 2020, Moumakwa earned an additional total of P26,416.11 as a result of the unprocedurally authorised revision of his committed allowance benefit.

On the terminal benefits, auditors found that Moumakwa benefited further from leave payment. Having accumulated a closing balance of 36.59 leave days, he was paid at the revised daily rate based on the higher basic salary of P93,732.13, being P4,260.55 instead of the contracted and authorised P2,498.81. An additional P64,462.70 was therefore, paid to him. The auditors have since advised that in order for the Board to demonstrate its expectation of a culture of ethical conduct and compliance with policies/contracts, Internal Audit advises that disciplinary action be instigated against the then only remaining member of staff in the matter, Molonda.

The Board chairman was further called on to address management on the expectation of ethical leadership within the organisation.

Contacted for a comment, Moumakwa said he would not respond to the report he had not seen. He would not even discuss whether what it contains is true or not. On the other hand, Mswela would also not respond to questions stating that he was not aware of any report nor wrongdoing he has done while still employed at SKMTH.

For his part, Molonda said he has heard about the report but has not seen it. "I wonder why someone would prepare such a report and not interview me to hear my side of the story. I can assure you that we did not give Dr Moumakwa anything that was not due to him. The restructuring of his salary was within the restructuring that was approved by the Board and did not in any way increase his monthly earnings," he said.

Contacted for a comment, SKMTH Board chairperson, Basimane Bogopa, said he will not respond as the issues were between the employer and employees.

Editor's Comment
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