Drug theft: Malawi Police decry internal syndicates

Malawi Police Service has revealed that they are failing to successfully prosecute drug theft cases as suspects are usually protected by ‘internal syndicates’.

The striking disclosure is made just days after the law enforcers arrested a Chiradzulu District Hospital pharmacy technician, Martin Nyanjagha for allegedly forging documents and misappropriating drugs worth K48.7 million.

And the Police in Lilongwe have arrested two Central Medical Stores officers for allegedly misappropriating drugs meant for Salima District Hospital.

National Police deputy Public Relations Officer, Kelvin Maigwa said in an interview most drug pilferages are run by institutionalized syndicates.

Maigwa: Internal syndicates
Maigwa: Internal syndicates

”There are more arrests made relating to drug theft but in most cases, we don’t have enough evidence to successfully prosecute them as most people are unwilling to testify against the culprits. Most thefts are internal,” explained Maigwa.

He disclosed that Police investigations are usually hampered by the syndicates, which shield the culprits.

The country is currently facing acute drug shortage with people dying of treatable diseases.

”Most witnesses benefit from the system and are work-mates to the suspects, therefore, would not give out information just to protect their colleagues”.

Meanwhile, Maigwa said they have teamed up with some stakeholders to put in place strategies to uncover the syndicates and curb drug pilferages.

During a meeting between President Joyce Banda and medical doctors, it was noted that corruption, devaluation, centralized procurement system and use of agents are some of reasons contributing to drug shortages.

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