Police in Malawi’s commercial city, Blantyre, have arrested four people for being found in possession of 29 bottles of life prolonging anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs.
Two of the suspects are reported to be civil servants at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) in Blantyre, the source of the drugs, police said.
The drugs are valued at K168 300 (about $468).
Blantyre Police Station assistant spokesperson Lameck Thembachako said police arrested the four on Tuesday after receiving a tip-off that some people were selling ARVs in Blantyre.
“Police rushed to the scene and we arrested Charles Ngweta, who is a translator at QECH. In the course of our interrogations, he [Ngweta] mentioned Dambuzo Huwa as the supplier,” said Thembachako, who disclosed that Huwa is a medical assistant at the referral hospital.
The two will answer charges of theft by public servant, according to police.
QECH administrator Themba Mhango asked for a questionnaire on the issue, but had not yet responded as we went to press.
The other suspects are Phillip Kambuzi and Patrick Mbale who have been arrested as accomplices to the crime. They were allegedly marketing the drugs to potential customers.
The arrest follows reports of drug shortages in most public hospitals whose stock is currently at only five percent.