8 staff of Arua hospital in trouble over theft of ambulance
todayJuly 27, 2021
By Frederick Dramadri
An investigation has pinned eight staff of Arua regional referral hospital for the theft of an ambulance at the facility early this year from the hospital’s parking yard. An independent investigating company hired by the Hospital management Board conducted a two month investigation at the hospital with the aim of ascertaining how the ambulance donated by Ministry of Health to help to referrals at the onset of the second of corona virus mysteriously went missing from the hospital premises amidst tight security both human and improvised CCTV cameras installed from the gate.
The matter came to the limelight after Martin Orochi, the Resident City Commissioner made a request for an ambulance to transport two injured Uganda Revenue Authority URA Enforcement Officers for treatment in Kampala. His request however was not granted after the hospital administration failed to find the ambulance where it had been parked. This left the leadership of the facility and local leaders confused as the ambulance key remained with the in charge.
The demand for the report into the disappearance of the vehicle was first raised by the parliamentary committee on corona virus in their tour of Karamoja Sub region and Northern Uganda to ascertain the strength of the health system in fighting coronavirus at Arua district headquarters.
Ochero Jimbricky Norman, the Member of Parliament for Labwor County Abim district wondered how a government property can be stolen in the watch of both well trained heavily deployed security guards and strict surveillance of CCTV cameras at the facility. He suspects foul play by members of the hospital in the theft of the ambulance. “I have never seen an ambulance stolen since I was born. This actually happened under the full watch of security guards here. Who is fooling who? We want a detailed report from the hospital administration and police on their investigations”. Ochero asked.
On 29th March 2021, four members of staff at Arua regional referral hospital including three security guards and a driver of the ambulance were picked by detectives at Arua central Police station in connection to the theft of the ambulance and a case of theft of an ambulance was registered under CRB305/2021 but they were released on Police bond without any report published to that effect.
Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, the Member of Parliament for Bardege-Layibi Division in Gulu City said this has taken long as nothing has come out on the whereabouts of the ambulance. “Three months down the road, we expected the police to have concluded with their investigations so I want to know indeed if the hospital hired a private investigator, and am told the report is out and is pointing fingers internally. Can we have it?”. Mapenduzi demanded.
Briefs of the findings
The report summarized that the Toyota Land cruiser ambulance registration number UG 6812M worth 300million Ugandan Shillings went missing on Saturday night of 27th March 2021 without the knowledge of the hospital administration and was realized missing from the hospital parking yard after two days on Monday 30th March 2021.
Secondly the report reveals that there was laxity by the security guards on duty by the time of the disappearance of the ambulance. It accuses the security guards of incompetence and both the hospital director and administrator have no knowledge of managing security and fleet of vehicles.
Thirdly, the report also details that there was connivance among the junior staff namely the security personnel and the two drivers who were allegedly well connected on phone with the dealers outside and whose contacts are yet to be analyzed and this was without the knowledge of both the Hospital Director and the administrator. Lastly the report accuses both the hospital administrator and the director of absenteeism as they were absconded from duty for the four days within which the ambulance was also stolen. However the hospital director Dr Filbert Nyeko has dismissed the report.
“How an ambulance can be stolen I can’t really say but I want to categorically state that yes an ambulance got lost from the hospital premises on 27th March this year and we reported the matter to Police.” Nyeko said.
Currently the whereabouts of the ambulance has not been clearly established but unconfirmed reports indicate that the ambulance was found in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Meanwhile, the chairperson hospital management board at Arua regional referral hospital Dr Sam Okuonzi confirms that the report has pinned four security personnel of the hospital, two drivers for connivance, the hospital director and the hospital administrator over negligence duty.
He says an appropriate decision shall be made by the board after a response from the ministry of health.
“We communicated to the ministry of health. It’s true we engaged a private firm to help us in the investigations. In the report the four Askaries whom the report pinned actually made false statements despite them being on duty that week plus the two drivers and we will be taking action against the leadership because of their negligence and incompetence.” Okuonzi revealed In February 2020, an autoclave machine and assorted tool kit worth 500million Ugandan Shillings went missing at the same facility but it was later recovered from Nebbi District.
COVER PHOTO: Part of Arua regional referral hospital. Photo by Frederick Dramadri.