Sunday, June 16, 2024

MoH erroneously loses over half a million to improper financial procedures

Government has lost over half a million Pula (P504,276.09) to a former employee, Rose Odero, of Kenyan nationality following improper financial procedures. Odero was working in the Ministry of Health as a senior pharmacist based at Selebi Phikwe Government Hospital before being deported.

Appearing before Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Shanaaz El Halabi revealed that Odero was declared a prohibited immigrant on November 8th 2012 after she was implicated in some criminal activities. She was then classified as a security threat to Botswana and deported to her native country.

El Halabi said following her deportation to Kenya, her terminal benefits were prepared proportionate to the services she had rendered. Initially her gratuity was paid in cheques which were later returned to the bank reconciliation unit for cancellation as her bank account was closed.

El-Halabi said after requesting for Odero’s new banking details in order to facilitate payments of cheques which were duly captured into Government Accounting and Budgeting System (GABS) by the Ministry of Finance and Development planning, her money amounting to P47 000 Pula was processed.

However it has since emerged that the Ministry of Health recklessly deposited USD 47, 107.80 into her account instead of P47, 107.80. 

“The error in payment of Ms Odero’s gratuity was realised when reconciling the gratuity vote’s ledger for March 2014, where it was established that an amount of  P504, 276.09 was deposited into her account and when tracing this figure to the payment voucher it was realised that she was  paid USD 47,107, 80 instead  of P47,107,80,” explained El Halabi.

The Permanent secretary was at odds to explain who’s to blame for the error and when the money would likely be recovered. 

Guma Moyo expressed dismay at the way which the PS conducted herself.

“Madam there is too much inconsistency in the MoH books of accounts because there is serious overpayment which has contributed to overpayment of over P10 million resulting from overpayment  of termination of contracts, gratuities  and resignations of employees not forgetting the huge money poured into a Kenyan national account. Why this? Is it because maybe you are too soft or what? But you must be hard on your employees to have productive results because that’s how a leader should be,” said Moyo.

The Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Abram Kesupile advised the PS to be serious about her job and crack the whip on any insubordinate staff members who are poorly keeping accounts records.

Shanaaz El Halabi assured the Committee that the MoH is addressing the issue and confirmed that they approached the Kenyan High Commission office on April 12th in a bid to resolve the matter. She said the commissioner Jean Kimuni has since written to the relevant authorities in Nairobi for assistance.

Sunday Standard investigations show that Odero has since informed the MoH that used the money as she thought it was part of her package. The Kenyan High Commissioner, Joan Muema said the matter was a difficult one as the money was deposited to someone residing in Kenya. He, however, said they have since communicated with the Foreign Affairs office in Kenya to try and resolve the matter.


Read this week's paper