President Lungu commended for sacking Health minister over corruption

Zambian President Edgar Lungu has been commended by Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) for his decision to dismiss health Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya in the wake of the Honeybee Pharmacy scandal.

Lungu recently fired Chilufya and replaced him with Bwana Mukubwa Member of parliament Dr Jonas Chanda following a financial scandal involving the supply of $17million worth of health kits which was unearthed by the Auditor General’s office and the Parliamentary Accounts Committee took it up to query the ministry and other government institutions charged with oversight roles in the health sector.

It has been established that the supplier, honeybee pharmacy supplied defective condoms, surgical gloves, and fake medicine.

TIZ Executive Director Maurice Nyambe has said the move is an important and necessary first step towards cleaning up the rot that appears to be deeply rooted at the ministry of health. Nyambe is however hopeful that this will not be the only action in response to the Honeybee pharmacy scandal.

He said TIZ expects law enforcement agencies to open investigations into Chilufya’s role in the honeybee scandal and should he be found culpable, he must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Meanwhile, the Medical for Quality Healthcare in Zambia –MQHZ- is urging President Edgar Lungu to also fire two Permanent Secretaries at the Ministry of Health following the sacking of Chitalu Chilufya as Minister over the $17 million honeybee pharmacy scandal.

MQHZ Director General Quince Mwabu says the axe should also extend to the two directors at Medical Stores Limited –MSL- and Zambia Medicines and Regulations Authority –ZAMRA- for incompetency and negligence.

Dr Mwabu has since commended President Lungu for taking action over the Ministry of Health scandal by firing the minister of health as the move will send positive and strong signals to all public service workers who betray public trust.

Meanwhile, socialist party general secretary, Cosmas Musumali says the firing of Dr. Chilufya was long overdue due to high levels of corruption and the putting of many lives in danger with impunity.

Dr Musumali however says the termination of Dr. Chilufya’s appointment is not sufficient but further steps should be taken so that the money spent on the procurement of substandard medical kits is paid back to the people of Zambia and also ensure criminal prosecution initiated against the entire team that was involved in this procurement including the suppliers of the fake medicines and defective supplies.

And the UPND in Ndola is calling for the prosecution of individuals that were involved in the negligent distribution of defective condoms and gloves beyond the dismissal of the Minister of Health.

UPND Ndola District Spokesperson David Mwanza has further challenged president Lungu to ensure that the Zambia Medicines Regulatory Authority -ZAMRA- and the Zambia Bureau of Standards –ZABS-, among other oversight institutions, are held accountable for their part in the process that put the lives of many Zambian’s in harm’s way.

Zimba has further called for the Anti-Corruption Commission -ACC- to reconstitute corruption investigations against Dr. Chilufya and the Honeybee contract which led to the distribution of defective condoms and gloves to health facilities.

Meanwhile, Pharmacist Jerome Kanyika, the whistleblower in the $17 million Ministry of Health and honeybee pharmacy corruption scandal is calling for the sacking and revocation of licenses for all pharmacists that supported the deal.

Kanyika who at the time of the scandal served as Pharmaceutical Society of Zambia President contends that the deadly unethical behaviour portrayed by the pharmacists who supported former minister of health Chitalu Chilufya to subject people to substandard, drugs, condoms and gloves should not go unpunished.

He further called on the Zambia Medicines and Regulatory Authority –ZAMRA- to suspend the license for honeybee pharmacy and for the new minister of health to constitute a directorate for pharmaceutical services at the ministry. He added that the sacking of Dr Chitalu Chilufya is good and should have been done two years ago.

He said latest action by ZAMRA to recall the health kits more than three months after distribution is a mockery to Zambians.

In a related development, UPND presidential spokesperson, Anthony Bwalya says Zambians must not be hoodwinked by president Lungu’s decision to fire Dr. Chilufya, as it does nothing to remedy the tragedy unprecedented government sponsored criminal activities against Zambians.

Bwalya claims that while Chilufya has been relieved of his duties, the principal beneficiaries of the criminal activities at the ministry of health are the Patriotic Front hence the delay by the head of state to relieve him of his duties as minister of health, following a string of unending corruption incidences at the ministry, the latest being the $17million honeybee grand theft syndicate.

(Phoenix News)

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