Netcare accused of looting

Netcare accused of looting

MASERU – WORKERS at the troubled Queen ’Mamohato Memorial Hospital have accused Netcare of looting and negligence.
This happens after Netcare and the government of Lesotho decided to cut ties last month.
The workers said Netcare took some ICU machines and pictures.
One of the nurses said “the extent of the theft is yet to be seen” adding that amongst other departments their theatre has been looted.
The nurse said its four working monitors were looted.
She disclosed that she is managing one of the departments in the hospital.
“We are in another struggle now,” she said, referring to their salary struggle under Netcare and are now battling lack of equipment.
“We were told by one of our employers that some of the stolen equipment is kept at the station (Maseru West Industrial Area),” she said.
She also said the ICU room was also looted and its services are now crippled.

“A lot of mistakes have been made here but this one of looting necessary equipment to help the Basotho patients is out of order.”
She also said some do not have equipment at all in their wards therefore it is even pointless that they still report to work.
The government took over the hospital on Monday and appointed its new management.
The new managing director is Dr Chale Moji who is deputized by Dr Lipontšo Makakole.
The Health Director-General, Dr ’Nyane Letsie, the new management’s first job is to “dig deeper with investigations to find out what was looted”.
“Everything that was taken must come back urgently, operations are compromised here,” Dr Letsie said, adding that “necessary measures will be taken”.
She was also worried that amongst the looted it was an SOP system that is used to store patients’ data.
“We will have to go to court because patient information has been taken here,” she said.

Tšepong board member, Professor Lehlohonolo Mosotho, said the SOP system is “a crucial system that helps store patients’ data that includes their date of birth and other things”.
“Tšepong is not the one that looted but the (hospital) management that we hired to help us did,” Professor Mosotho said.
He said he would report crime to the police.
He said Netcare stole money from Tšepong’s accounts.
“They took that money without our authorisation and we are currently looking into that matter too,” he said.
The looted funds, he said, had been their proceeds paid by the government to Tšepong for managing the hospital.
Dr Moji said the hospital could be correctly managed if the workers work together with the management.

“We are always told of the perception that Basotho cannot manage some things. It is not true, let us change that,” Dr Moji said.
Netcare’s response to accusations last night was that Professor Mosotho “could not speak on behalf of Tšepong as he was not mandated to do so”.
“Since Tšepong is in dispute with (government) regarding the termination of the PPP Agreement it would be improper for a Tšepong board member to participate in the manner described,” Dr Chris Smith, a director, said.
“Netcare denies that it has misappropriated any property belonging to the project or Tšepong,” he said.
“Property removed by Netcare was recorded and reported to the Government of Lesotho. The few items that had been removed was (sic) to clear areas to accommodate the new operator and in preparation for the contemplated handover which was originally communicated as 31 August 2021.”

Dr Smith said the items removed were the property of Netcare and consisted of branded items and others used by Netcare to perform its contractual duties.
“The pictures removed are Netcare property and associated with the world class facility established by Netcare and staff concerned,” he said.
“With regard to the baseless allegations that Netcare stole money from Tšepong it is noteworthy that Tšepong is a thinly capitalised entity without access to working capital, and were therefore in the past unable to meet financial obligations when monthly payments by GoL were delayed.”

He said during these prolonged periods of non-payment over past years – sometimes up to five consecutive months – Netcare provided the interest-free bridge funding to sustain the financial position of Tšepong.
“When Netcare recovered amounts due to it, once Tsepong’s had the funds to settle its obligations to Netcare, the company was accused of financial impropriety.”

Staff Reporter

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