State House Probes NMS Manager Over Sale of Govt Drugs to Tanzania

The State House is investigating a case in which Isaac Aijuka, the store manager at National Medical Stores (NMS) warehouse in Ibanda district sold government drugs to Tanzania.

According to the State House health monitoring unit assistant director, Dr Brian Arinaitwe, NMS was making the last supply from the district store to the health centres, when it found out 19 boxes of antimalarial drugs were missing.

“There is corruption in the medicine supply of Ibanda District. It is very painful that the government has tried to do everything but unscrupulous people have been trying hard to tarnish the image of the government. Last Tuesday we arrested Mr Aijuka for stealing 19 boxes of antimalarial,’’ he said.

Dr Arinaitwe said Mr Aijuka stole boxes of Coartem worth Shs50m and sold them at Shs10m. The accused has confessed to the crime.

He added that they would find the whole racket of people stealing and selling government drugs.

“We believe he has been doing it for a long as we learnt from a meeting we had at the district. We are going to do a more comprehensive audit that will span two years backwards so that we can understand the extent of what the government has lost,” he said.

Dr Arinaitwe said the suspect would be charged with embezzlement in the Anti-Corruption Court in Kampala.
Ibanda District chairperson Melichiadis Kazwengye said the district had been receiving reports about the sale of government drugs.

“Whenever we are at the drug store, we get comments from the locals but the suspect (Isaac) has been denying but now he has been arrested,” Mr Kazwengye said.

He added: “How does someone who gets a Shs 400,000 government salary a month afford a car of Shs340m and also change cars like shirts? What magic does he use that others do not have? This is a clear indicator that one is corrupt.”

The chief administrative officer, Mr Kweyamba Ruhemba, said fighting corruption should be a concerted effort by all stakeholders.

He also asked officials from the State House to arrest whoever aided in the sale of government drugs.
Mr Ruhemba said: “On several occasions, people complain of lack of drugs at our 44 health units in the district and we think that the problem is with the NMS yet someone at the district is busy making it a cash cow.”

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