The Minister of Health, Dr. Richard Sezibera yesterday revealed that several officials have been arrested and others already prosecuted for embezzling and misappropriating funds meant for the communal health insurance scheme, Mutuelle de Sante.
According to records, about 10 percent of the scheme’s funds were embezzled between 2005 and 2008.
“An audit that was carried out during that period exposed this issue and up to now, several officials have been arrested over their role in this scam,” he explained.
“Right now, I do not have the statistics of people involved, however, we are doing everything possible to ensure that such a problem does not happen again”.
The 2008 Auditor General’s report that was recently presented to parliament indicated hundreds of millions had not been accounted for.
“Weaknesses in the system have been addressed and hospitals that have managed to justify how they used the funds are being re-imbursed. For those that are not able to justify these funds, we demand accountability,” the minister said.
Other measures aimed at strengthening the fund’s system in a bid to deliver better services to the population, include training of more officials, effective monitoring as well as placing accountants at different levels across the country.
“At the district level we have ensured that mutuelle invoices be verified.”
The 2008 Auditor General’s report that was released recently highlighted that during the review of the mutual health technical support cell in the ministry, it was identified that this unit does not have any records.
According to the report, there were no invoices received from several hospitals in connection to the medical services offered to patients insured under Mutuelle de Santé.
“The continued dispute over invoices and failure to settle these invoices from hospitals on a timely basis may lead to cash flow problems at hospitals and consequently may affect the quality of service provision to Mutuelle de Santé beneficiaries,” the Auditor General observed in the report.
Sezibera however emphasized that the reforms in place are systematically ironing out this problem in a bid to foster good service delivery.