By; PAMELA EBOH, Awka
Ten sraff of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Traching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi are currently in police net for alleged N15m fraud.
The institution accused them of manipulating its Automated Billing and Account Method in connivance with four staff members of a consulting firm (Health station) for the Automated Billing and Accounting Method ,who have also been handed over to the police.
Information has it that two of the NAUTH staff members and 4 staff members of Health Station have already been arraigned by the police at Nnewi Magistrate court while three were cleared of the allegation.
Addressing journalists in his office at Nnewi, the Chief Medical Director, CMD, of the hospital, Prof Anthoby Igwegbe said the automated billing method was introduced by the management of the Teaching hospital in 2012 to minimize fraud
He said that the system which is being powered by “Health Station” on Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement has been enhanced to avoid future occurrance.
Igwegbe explained that “Health Station” as an organization does not collect revenue for the medical institution but made an application available to the hospital which permanently solved the problems associated with fake receipts.
He added, “At a time in the history of this hospital, all manner of receipts were flying around here, some of the receipts in use in those days even looked more original than the hospital’s original receipts and in the process huge sums of money was lost to the fraudsters.
“The automated billing method has been working effectively for the hospital until this year when our partner employed some bad eggs who connived with our staff to defraud the system. The fraud was discovered three weeks ago. After the incident, the company carried out a system auditing and discovered that it was their staff who manipulated the system.
“Their management is not taking it lightly with the staff suspected to be at the centre of fraudulently manipulating the system. The suspects have been charged to court on two count charge of fraud and forgery.
“We have set up a committee to investigate the level of involvement of our staff and at the end of the day, the ones found culpable would be dealt with in line with the existing civil service laws. The management of NAUTH has zero tolerance to fraud, that is why we introduced the system.
“The management is taking further steps to prevent criminal manipulation of the system in the future.’
The CMD observed that the quick discovery of the plot to defraud the hospital helped to checkmate the dealings in the hospital before greater damage is done.
Igwegbe used the occasion of the briefing to reel out achievements of the hospital which include quality services to the patients which he added has attracted increased patronage to the hospital.
He added, “Our endoscopic surgery department has improved. We have acquired machine for blood culture. We bought two new 500KVA generators to enhance power situation in this hospital.
“NAUTH is only struggling to buy gas for the generators now unlike in the past that we were struggling with repair works on the old generators. The CEO of Air Peace, Barr Onyema also donated one 500KVA generator to this hospital. In all, we can say categorically that we are carrying out our mandate to the patients in this hospital.”
While identifying lack of space in the hospital’s temporary site as a major challenge, he said that work is currently ongoing at the permanent site saying that the management and board of the hospital is passionately committed to seeing NAUTH move to the permanent site.