Friday, October 30, 2020

Zimbabwe: Anti-corruption agency investigates allegations of nepotism in hospitals across the country

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Staff at one of the major hospitals in the country are in the habit of allocating nurse training vacancies to their relatives and then go on to invite members of the public for interviews for the already taken-up posts, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) has discovered. 

Although he did not name the hospital, Zacc spokesperson Mr John Makamure said the corrupt behaviour was unearthed by a systems audit and compliance review of Government ministries, departments and State entities the anti-graft body carried out.

He said Zacc was also auditing other entities, including the Presidential and National Scholarship Fund and the National Pharmaceutical Company (NatPharm).

The commission has since completed similar compliance checks on the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec), Cyclone Idai donations and five major hospitals where it identified “alarming levels of bribery” in nurse recruitment, said Mr Makamure.

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“We carried out Systems Review exercises in five of the six central hospitals in Zimbabwe on the recruitment and selection of trainee registered nurses,” he said.

“Our findings were quite alarming; there was rampant bribery for one to enrol as a trainee nurse. Some authorities made brisk business on unsuspecting poor candidates. One hospital has internal policies that benefit staff dependents while the public is cheated to apply and attend interviews.”

Related: Zimbabwe: Anti-Corruption Commission Recovers U.S.$10 Million From Looters

Mr Makamure said recommendations had been made on action to be taken.

He said Zimsec had been blamed for rampant exam leakages and cheating through mediums like social media.

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“We recommend that Zimsec should enhance security of examination material throughout all stages of question paper development,” said Mr Makamure. “There is need to do physical checks on every person who participates in the development and distribution of question papers to ensure they don’t possess spy gadgets.

“Zimsec was encouraged to use the grade-maker machine for all subjects. This machine can assemble a question paper without the involvement of several employees around it. Zacc is glad to note that after our systems review, the June 2019 examinations had no reports of malpractice.”

On Cyclone Idai, Mr Makamure said Zacc noted that donated goods were fleeced by those who had been entrusted to take custody.

“Zacc carried out a compliance check on the management of Cyclone Idai donations in Chimanimani,” he said.

“It is sad to note that those we normally trust were found to be abusing the donations and to date more than 10 people are appearing in court on corruption and theft charges.”

Mr Makamure said Zacc was checking on compliance issues at Natpharm given rampant reports of impropriety and findings would be made public once completed.

“A Zacc team is analysing systems and processes at the Presidential and National Scholarship Department,” he said. “The public will be apprised of the findings very soon when we complete the exercise.”

Mr Makamure said Zacc will conduct a stakeholders workshop tomorrow to receive input from stakeholders while it will pitch up a tent in Kadoma next week during a roadshow.

“As part of our efforts to accelerate corruption prevention, Zacc has embarked on a systems and compliance review of public entities in order to strengthen corporate governance,” he said.

Mr Makamure said most of the corruption in public entities  emanated from poor corporate governance. 

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