Ministry hires fake Korean pathologists

Ministry hires fake Korean pathologists

MASERU – The Ministry of Public Service hired two Korean pathologists whose qualifications were dubious. And when the net was closing in on them the Koreans went back home using tickets bought by the government. But even as they were away without official leave the government continued to pay their salaries for months.
The revelations are contained in Auditor General Lucy Liphafa’s report for the year ended March 31, 2017.
The report says the Ministry of Public Service hired the pathologists in 2014. They were deployed to the police on a three-year contract from September 1, 2014.
It says the pathologists did not produce original certificates upon their arrival in the country.

It is a legal requirement that every consultant or expert awarded a service should produce original certificates to the authoritative body before signing the terms of engagement.
Liphafa says it was explained that at one stage when the police demanded their original certificates, they submitted the documents endorsed with a Korean Embassy stamp.
The police suspected the documents to be fraudulent, Liphafa says.
In December 2014, the Korean Embassy intervened and requested that those pathologists be allowed to travel to Korea for holiday so that they could bring their certificates but they never returned.

Liphafa says her audit established that there were no performance reports indicating, among other things, details of corpses attended, and the results of the pathological services upon which the performance indicator and the level of achievement in respect of the pathologist would be assessed.
She says it could not be ascertained whether the pathologists were actually performing the work in accordance with the terms of their contracts.
The report also reveals that when the Koreans were hired there were already two local pathologists engaged by the police.

One was engaged on contractual terms for one year effective from May 2014 while the other was contracted for two years from July 2014 prior to engagement of the Korean pathologists.
The terms of payments for both doctors according to the report, were that they would be paid M800 per autopsy and M5 000 per exhumation while preparations were still underway to substantially fill the two vacant positions in Grade G.

The records showed that during the same period of engagement of the Korean pathologists, from September to December 2014, one of the local pathologists continued to provide pathological services on the 37 corpses while there was no indication that the expatriate doctors had done any job till December 2014.
The report shows that the pathologists were to draw a salary at Grade G at a rate of M150 024 per annum increasing to M178 488 by annual increments subject to their performance.
They were entitled to 24 days annual leave, the report reads.

Liphafa said the two doctors were granted permission to travel to Korea for Christmas on 11 December 2014.
At that time, each had earned six days of annual leave, the report adds.
“These doctors never reported to work from December 2014 to March 2015 and that was regarded as an unauthorized leave as per legal opinion provided by the principal advisor on March 19, 2015.

“However, they were paid full monthly salary of M12, 502 up to March 2015.”
The report says this resulted in overpayment of M75 012 (M37 506) per doctor.
It further says at the time of audit in July 2016, the doctors’ contracts had not been terminated.

The report reveals that the contract between the doctors and the government, transport costs on engagement and termination on the contracts were to be incurred by the government.
But the police provided return tickets to the amount of M18 700 for the doctors while travelling to Hong Kong for holidays in December 2014 yet they were only entitled to transport benefit upon engagement and termination of their contracts.
Therefore, the report says, the payment of M18 700 for purchase of air tickets was irregular.

Majara Molupe

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