Forex leakages in the healthcare sector exposed

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Healthcare workers funded by donors are bitter why they get salaries in bond notes yet the money is sourced in United States dolla

By Nhau Mangirazi

CHINHOYI– There is a syndicate of senior officials in the Ministry of Health who are conniving to loot and abuse   foreign currency sourced from donor organisations, the Mail and Telegraph can exclusively reveal.

At least 2000 primary health care counsellors are bitter that they are getting their salaries  in bond notes and RTGS transfer yet they get donor funds in United States dollars.

The salaries are funded through the  United Nations Development Program and Global Fund  and the Mail and Telegraph has it on good authority that a fact-finding mission team from Switzerland jetted into the country early October over this ‘salary crisis’.

“UNDP and Global Fund dispatched a delegation to Zimbabwe for verification and inquiry with Government authorities in Harare. Among these were officials from Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and Ministry of Health and Child Care. They wanted to know why Global Fund supported staff are being paid by RTGS or bond notes yet UNDP (Global Fund) pays hard currency to Government,” said one of our sources from Manicaland.

According to other sources, RBZ professed ignorance on how the Health ministry pays Global Fund supported staff.

“They told Global Fund Geneva delegation that Ministry of Health administers its donor funds independent of RBZ or Finance Ministry. Global Fund Geneva delegation then instructed UNDP offices to make sure all Global Fund supported staff open FCA Nostro accounts to be paid in hard currency,” collaborated another source in Midlands province.

Sources revealed that they were ordered to open Foreign  Currency Accounts in October but this was just ‘lip service’.

Zimbabwe National Counsellors coordinator Beatrice Dupwa communicated with her juniors at every clinic around the country claimingthat ‘ her hands are tied over the FCAs’.

In a memo leaked to Mail and Telegraph she indicated that she called one Mr Ntini (Head of finance HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria program) in health ministry concerning this crisis.

“Mr Ntini indicated that they are still waiting for Standard Chartered Bank head office to approve the opening of our accounts.

‘Mr Ntini said according to our Government position, official rate between bond and USD is 1:1 and therefore it is impossible to rate anyone salary in USD and convert it to Bond at the street rate.

‘This means that if they receive our salary as 100USD in their account they are unable to transfer it into our individual banks say Cabs, CBZ in USD form because that transaction goes through RBZ and the money will automatically be converted into bond as what has always been the case.

‘We want us to open Stanchart as The Global Fund/UNDP is depositing our salaries in Stanchart forex account but it is impossible to wire that money into a different bank without it being converted again to bond at the Government s official rate of 1:1,”  read part of the memo.

The memo further revealed that other organisations have made it through offshore accounts.

“Some NGOs like MSF have  offshore accounts in New York which they can simply order to pay their employees and service providers here in forex directly from New York.” stated the memo.  

It has also been there has been prevalence of ghost workers

When contacted for comment Dupwa was evasive. She stated that she was not mandated to  engage with journalists.

“I cannot comment on what you are asking,” she said before abruptly disconnecting the call.

Efforts to get a comment from Health minister Dr Obadiah Moyo drew a blank as his mobile phone was not reachable.

Healthcare industry is in crisis as personnel downed their tools forcing government through the Minister of Labour and Social welfare to take them to Labour Court and declaring the strike illegal.