Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Medical doctors skip country as ARVs worth millions get stolen

About two medical doctors are believed to have skipped the country following a massive theft of Anti Retroviral drugs worth millions of pula.

So far three staff members at the Central Medical Stores (CMS), two store keepers and pharmacist, are at the centre of police investigations following the incident.

The accused persons, Ruth Thandi Siemisi (42), Hamida Letsatsi (39), both storekeepers as well as the chief pharmacist technician, Susan Jonsen, 45, appeared briefly before the Extension 2 magistrate court last Friday charged with theft of ARVs.

The accused persons were granted bail of about P2 000 and are expected to appear again before the court after fourteen days.

Sunday Standard investigation has revealed that the Botswana Police Service has launched a manhunt for about two medical doctors implicated in the theft of the ARVs.

They are strongly suspected to have skipped the country.

It has emerged that before the drugs are stolen, they are removed from their original package boxes to make it easy to go past the security gate.

The stolen drugs were then sold to private clinics in Francistown where the market is growing.
A good number of staff members are reported to be under interdiction as a result of the rampant drug theft.

The Station Commander of Old Naledi Police Station, Superintendent Titus Molatlhwa, told The Sunday Standard, “We are questioning about three female employees at CMS who might have stolen ARVs from CMS worth a large amount of money.”

He said although the investigations are still in initial stages, they have not yet recovered the stolen drugs as the investigators are all out to find where they could have been hidden.
“It might be possible that the number of suspects might either increase or decrease, depending on the scope of the investigations,” he said.

Asked about allegations that there are medical doctors implicated, he said, “Yes, we have such information that some medical doctors might be involved but at this stage I am unable to divulge any information because we are still following leads that might boost our investigations.”
He said it is unfortunate that the three suspects have been given bail, which might in a way compromise their investigations.

He further said he is worried about the increasing number of theft incidents at CTM and blamed it all on negligence.

The Chief Public Relations Officer at the Ministry of Health, Doreen Motshegwa, confirmed the thefts to the Sunday Standard last Friday evening.

“I am unable to comment further because the ministry is busy trying to piece together what might have happened,” Motshegwa said. “The matter has been reported to the police.”

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