A Government pharmacy technician working at Lilongwe District Health Office, which is under the Ministry of Health, has been nabbed for allegedly stealing medical equipment valued at MK1.5 million.
Police confirmed Monday that they are keeping in custody, a 45 year old man, an employee of Malawi Government working in the Ministry of Health as a Pharmacy Technician.
Central Region Police Headquarters spokesperson Noriety Chihana said: “Our officers from the Criminal Investigation Department at Central Region Police Headquarters on Saturday arrested Evans Mkulunga, a pharmacy technician at Lilongwe District Health Office for purportedly stealing 30 cartons of surgical gloves worth MK1.5 million.
According to the police publicist, Chihana, the suspect Mkulunga is currently being held under lock and key at Lilongwe Central Police Station in Area 3.
“We were tipped about the theft by the Director of Drug Investigation Unit at Lilongwe District Health Office and our specialised trained officers swiftly moved just in the nick of time and arrested the suspect,” said Chihana.
The Central Region Police Public Relation Officer, Chihana, said that on this day, Mkulunga is alleged to have stolen the surgical gloves and delivered them at his house in the densely-populated squalor township of Likuni, using a government Land Cruiser Ambulance registration number MG 597 which was being driven by Rafig Tewe.
“We followed all the leads and in the eventuality, we arrested the suspect at his workplace. However, the driver of the Ambulance which was used to ferry the gloves has bolted and is at large,” said Chihana.
The suspect, Evans Mkulunga, hails from Naphazi village in Traditional Authority (T/A) Mchiramwera in Thyolo District.
However, Chihana said the police have intensified a man-hunt to arrest the driver as an accomplice to the crime and therefore she appealed to the members of the general public to report to any police station if they have information that will help the police to arrest the ambulance driver, (Rafiq) Tewe.
Mkulunga is expected to appear in court soon to answer charges of Theft by Public Servant under Section 283 of the Penal Code.
Chihana said: “We (the Police) are appealing to members in the Civil Service and to the members of the general public to desist from embezzling public health resources as such malpractices are retrogressive and detrimental to government’s policy in quality health delivery.”
Stealing of medical equipment and drugs is rampant in the Southern African impoverished country, Malawi, one of the poorest countries in the world and the government has lost billions of kwachas from its coffers through theft by civil servants in the infamous Cash-gate scandal – the mass looting of public resources.