The Senior Resident Magistrate’s Court in Lilongwe on Wednesday sentenced three hospital workers at Bwaila District Hospital to three years imprisonment each with hard labour for stealing medical drugs.
The court heard that in November last year, two guards manning the hospital’s main gate spotted a laundry attendant at the hospital, Viera Kwauma, carrying a bag and trying to sneak out of the facility.
The guards stopped him and after searching, he was found with medical drugs worth K540 345 (about $804) which he wrapped in a blanket.
According to central region deputy police spokesperson Kaitano Lubrino, Kwauma and the other two hospital officials, Julio Makwinja and James Mphozongo from the Pharmacy department , were also arrested.
“Though the suspects pleaded not guilty, evidence was overwhelming that they committed the offence,” said Lubrino.
Passing the sentence, Senior Resident Magistrate Patrick Chirwa bemoaned failure by Bwaila hospital authorities to come up with an audit report on drug theft to ascertain the circumstantial evidence proving that the offence was an inside job and well coordinated.
He expressed worry over the increase in drug theft in the country’s hospitals perpetrated by hospital officials.
Kwauma, 36, hails from Kalolo village in the area of Traditional Authority (T/A) Kalolo in Lilongwe while Makwinja, 30, comes from Makunganya village T/A Mlumbe in Zomba. Mphozongo, 34, hails from Malasa village T/A Malengachanzi in Nkhotakota.