Northern Province officials have called on district officials, police and the prosecution to investigate circumstances under which funds designated for community health insurance (Mutuelle de Santé) were diverted into unrelated areas.
The call was made on Tuesday during a meeting with stakeholders to discuss, among other issues, the misuse of public funds. The meeting was chaired by Northern Province Governor, Aimé Bosenibamwe.
“The money meant to buy medicine was instead used to pay employees. Though they claim they acted under official instructions, it was against the law governing public health insurance,” the governor said.
“There were cases of misappropriation and mismanagement of insurance premiums. This is an issue that has been prevalent for long and should be brought to an end. Mayors, the police and the prosecution have to hold all the people involvedall people involved.”
He said diverting funds meant for Mutuelle de Santé had adversely affected the functioning of the insurance scheme and healthcare in general.
A provincial audit that covered the last two and a half years found issues of mismanagement of the funds by heads of health insurance in various health centres in the province.
Some premiums were paid but never deposited on their respective accounts, some were embezzled, while there were also missing documents and discrepancies between the money in the books and bank balances, ineligible and unsupported expenditure, among others.
Funds designated to buy medicine for district pharmacies were used to pay health insurance employees. This, according to officials, resulted in shortage of medicine in hospitals and health centres which affected the health of beneficiaries.
For instance in Rulindo District, Rwf314 million earmarked to buy medicine was used to pay employees; Gakenke spent Rwf 234 million while Rwf105.6million was misused in Musanze District.
This, according to officials, contradicted the law establishing the community health insurance scheme which stipulates that employees of the scheme should be considered as public servants and paid like any other civil servants.
However, district officials said they allocated the funds to salaries under instructions from the Ministry of Finance and should not be held accountable as they had no other means to pay staff.
Chief Inspector of Police André Hakizimana, the Northern Province Regional Police Spokesperson, said they were going to carry out further investigations into the cases.
The government has since put Mutuelle de Santé under Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB).