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Five jailed for Harare hospital drug fraud

By Prosper Dembedza

Harare magistrate Ms Barbra Chimboza yesterday slapped four men with three-year jail terms each after convicting them of defrauding Harare Central Hospital of more than $68 000 in a botched pharmaceuticals supply deal.

Harare Hospital
Harare Hospital

The fifth got 18 months for being involved in the deals.

Floralsplah Investments director Stansfield Dhokwani, Malcley Health Care director Albert Chisema, Critical Health Services director Gift Ziyambe and chief accounting officer at the hospital Collen Malambo Makuyana were sentenced to five years each after they were convicted of 13 counts of fraud.

They will serve three years each as Ms Chimboza suspended 18 months on condition that they each restitute Harare Central Hospital of $16 934,24.

Ms Chimboza also set aside six months of the sentence for five years on condition of good behaviour. Their accomplice, Nicholas Mjanja, was sentenced to 18 months in jail.

Six months of the sentence were suspended on condition of good behaviour and a further four months were suspended on condition that he restitutes the hospital of $9 900.

Mjanja will serve an effective eight months imprisonment.

Prosecutor George Manokore told the court that in 2008, the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare awarded a tender to Laryscope Health Care (Pvt) Ltd to supply pharmaceutical products to Harare Central Hospital.

On December 21, 2010, the hospital requested pharmaceutical products worth $8 400 from the company.

The goods were supplied and the pharmaceutical shop submitted requisition copies, goods received and its tax invoice.

On February 15, 2011, the hospital acknowledged receipt of the products.

The accused connived to forge a tax invoice.

They also forged a letter purporting that Laryscope instructed the hospital to transfer all payments to Floralsplah Investment’s bank account.

Acting on the misrepresentation, the hospital transferred $8 400 to Floralsplah.

Dhokwani, who is a signatory to Floralsplah’s bank account, withdrew the money.

On June 28, 2011, the hospital requested pharmaceutical products worth $2 250. Using the same modus operandi, the accused forged documents bearing Ballstring Investments (Pvt) Ltd letterheads and recommended the hospital transfer money into the company’s bank account.

Mjanja, who is a signatory of the Ballstring’s bank account, withdrew the money in connivance with the quartet.

The court heard that the hospital made several requests for pharmaceutical supplies between December 2010 and December 2014 amounting to $68 783.

All the money was transferred into Floralsplah and Ballstring bank accounts and nothing was recovered. The Herald