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10 remanded over theft of government drugs in Pader

Pader, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Ten suspects are on remand in Kinene Prison in Ogom sub-county in Pader for alleged theft of drugs from three health centers in the district. The suspects appeared on Thursday before Pader Grade One Magistrate Edward Akwankwasa.

They are part of 12 suspects arrested by police on Wednesday following the mysterious disappearance of essential drugs from Alima health center II, Lapul health center III and Aguta health center II. The suspects arrested from Alima health center II include Charles Omara Ojok, the health facility in-charge, Christine Anek, a nurse and the gatekeeper, Allan Christo Kidega. At Lapul health center III, the police arrested Paul Komakech Oola, the in-charge, and four other staff members identified as Walter Obong, Moses Komakech, Edwin Okello and Grace Acan.

Meanwhile, Doreen Ajok, Joyce Atimango and Richard Otema, the in-charge, nurse, and gatekeeper were picked from Aguta health center II. However, two out of the twelve suspects who appeared in court were released under the guidance of the State attorney. They are Paul Oola Komakech the in charge Lapul health center III and Kenneth Obina, a storeman at the same facility.

Jimmy Patrick Okema, the Aswa River Region Police Spokesperson told URN in an interview that drug theft in government health facilities in Acholi sub region is becoming so rampant. Okema suspects that such rampant theft could be linked to the mushrooming drug shops within the communities operated by some health workers.

He vowed that the police with other relevant stakeholders will not tire in ensuring the vice is curtailed to enable the community get health services effectively.

The suspects are expected to return to Court on April 15th, 2021. Dr. Anna Apiyo, the acting Pader District Health Officer didn’t comment on the matter, saying she needed permission from the Chief Administrative Officer. This is not the first time staff at government health facilities are getting arrested over drug theft.

On Tuesday, the police in Agago district arrested Alice Akidi, the in-charge of Kuywee health center III and a nurse identified as Jane Aguti over alleged theft of drugs worth shillings 5 million. Andrew Onyuk, the Agago Resident District Commissioner says perpetrators are mainly targeting antimalarial drugs and malaria test kits.

He notes that recently, the suspects allegedly stole 20 boxes of Coartem meant for treating about 600 patients and over 20 boxes of malaria test kits.



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