Police in Mulanje have arrested Watson Nguluwe, a senior head hospital administrator at Mimosa Health Centre in Mulanje, on allegations that he is part of the syndicate of health workers who have been stealing government drugs and selling them to private clinics and pharmacies.
His arrest comes days after the Weekend Nation published a story detailing how government was losing huge supplies of medical drugs and equipment to theft being masterminded by health workers.
“The ministry’s complaint follows a tip-off from your informative story last week. That story was heartrending and we have taken it as our tip-off to catch everyone connected to the syndicate,” said Misuli.
She said the police expect Nguluwe to provide them with information leading to the arrest of his accomplices.
“We’ll not release him until he reveals his friends since he indicated that he used to buy from fellow health workers,” explained Misuli.
But Malawi Health Equity Network (Mhen) executive director, Martha Kwataine, said it was too early for Malawians to celebrate ‘as previous cases ended at mere arrests’.
Kwataine said mere arrests cannot deter would-be offendors; hence, the need for the law enforcement agencies to aim at securing convictions in drug theft cases.
“What we need to know is that these [drug thieves] are murderers. They send innocent lives to early graves by their actions; and, we shouldn’t feel sorry for them. They’ve to be jailed,” she emphasised.
Kwataine has since expressed willingness to partner and support Weekend Nation in its project aimed exposing all forms of corrupt practices in the public service to ensure effective and satisfactory service delivery.
An undercover investigation by Weekend Nation last week established that health workers stationed in the border districts of Malawi are causing constant stockouts of essential drugs in rural-based health centres, thereby putting lives of poor Malawians at risk.