‘Fraudulent’ Officer Given Laundry Job

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By Wezi Tjaronda WINDHOEK A Transport officer of the Rundu Intermediate Hospital has been transferred to the laundry department after he was found to have been engaged in fraudulent transactions involving petrol cards. The decision to transfer the official, a certain R. M. Celestino was taken by the hospital management following a report after investigations showed that Celestino “acted fraudulently in the way he managed the Stannic cards and the trip authority”, according to a letter written by chief medical officer Dr Yuri Yangazov. The alleged transaction amounts to N$20 980.11. In a letter he wrote to the personnel office at the hospital in October, Dr Yangazov requested the personnel officer to write a letter of transfer for the officer to be moved to the laundry department. “Since the report shows clearly that the transport officer is incompetent to carry out his duties effectively, it deems best to transfer him to avoid further wastage of Government resources,” wrote the chief medical officer, in a letter New Era is in possession of. An investigation into the matter found that the official exerted no control over the Stannic cards and kept no records such as when the last driver signed for the card and who issued it. Apart from this, two cards were missing, a case the official did not report to either the police or his supervisor. The team concluded that since the transport officer failed to report the missing cards to the police within 24 hours, he was incompetent. It also discovered that fuel transactions were made even though some vehicles were not in use at that particular time, while drivers of the vehicles used false signatures, wrong IDs and false mileages. “Vehicles were fuelled two times a day, after three hours of filling it,” said a report of the investigation team, which cites GRN 7488 that was fuelled at 10h45 and again at 14h33 the same day at the same service station. To illustrate that the vehicles were using different mileages, the report says another vehicle, “GRN 7484 fuelled on 19/08/05 at Pupkewitz Rundu with 188 litres amounting to N$898.20 with 255 480 km and the next day, 20/08/05 the same vehicle took 118 litres to the amount of N$553.90 with different kilometres 172 072.” From the findings of the investigation, the team concluded that the transport officer was negligent in the way he handled the Stannic cards and he had no capacity to handle the cards. Amongst the recommendations are that the losses incurred should be recovered and that the transport officer, an artisan and one driver be charged with misconduct. Celestino has since been transferred to the laundry department. A call to the transport department yesterday revealed that the official has since left the department and is working in the laundry department. Contacted for comment on the matter, Director of North East Health Region, Elizabeth Muremi declined to comment on whether the concerned officials have been charged and whether the matter has since been reported to the police. Muremi said she did not want the issue to become public, adding: “I would not want to comment on that one.”