Crime

Pharmacist, six others arrested over stolen government supplies

JINJA, UGANDA: Police in Kiira region on Thursday arrested the Jinja regional referral hospital internal pharmacist, Ambrose Kamugisha, alongside six others for allegedly selling government labelled supplies.

The suspects are being detained at Nalufenya police station awaiting prosecution.

The suspects were arrested following a tipoff from a passenger, who alerted Uganda Revenue Authority-URA law enforcement personnel after noticing government labelled supplies were being transported in a commuter taxi.

The taxi which was headed to Kampala was impounded along the New bridge and on conducting a search, several government supplies, most of which had been repacked in brand new boxes as a means of concealing them were recovered while hidden under the seats.

The medical supplies comprised of 8,000 pairs of gloves, 972 pieces of suture materials and 800 boxes containing contraceptive devices.

It is reported that Kamugisha would load unspecified amounts of medical supplies in highly contagious medical waste bins, and directs cleaners to ferry them to the mortuary area, where mortuary attendants would in turn load them onto his waiting vehicle.

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Kamugisha’s other accomplices then load them in random commuter taxis that supply them to their contacts within the areas of Budaka, Kampala, and Mbale.

Kamugisha declined to comment about the matter. However, one of his co-suspects, Godfrey Lutalemwa who is a mortuary attendant at the facility confesses to have participated in the syndicated drug theft activity within the hospital.

“Kamugisha directed me to store medical waste bins containing medical supplies on five different occasions, but his colleagues, most of whom are fellow health workers would come and load the medicines in his vehicle,” he says.

Jinja hospital director, Florence Tugumisirize confirmed that all the recovered medical supplies were among the latest items supplied to them by National Medical Stores-NMS, but denied having knowledge about any of her staff engaging in the vice of drug theft.

Meanwhile, the Jinja Resident City Commissioner, Kyeyune Ssenyonjo says that the facility should increase vigilance by checking the vehicles of their staff, alongside other entrants both during their arrival and departure from the hospital, which he claims will control the cases of drug theft.

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Ssenyonjo says that the suspects will be charged with illegal possession of government supplies and theft of government drugs.


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