Temba Dube Deputy News Editor
THE Mpilo Central Hospital board has ordered a forensic investigation into the tender system at the health institution. The auditors arrived at the hospital to start work yesterday.
The development follows an expose by Chronicle of allegations of unprocedural cancellation of a $3 million tender awarded by the hospital to Bulawayo businessman, Ashton Mpofu.
Mpofu made the allegations while responding to reports that he threatened the hospital’s director of operations, Duduza Regina Moyo with death for cancelling his tender to revamp the institution’s cancer ward.
Mpilo Central Hospital board chairperson Sichelesile Moyo-Ncube yesterday said a local accounting firm PNA accountants had been tasked to do a thorough seven-day preliminary investigation.
She said the audit would scrutinise all tenders issued by Mpilo Central Hospital between January 2012 and February 2015.
“Mpilo Hospital management board has met to look at allegations of misconduct levelled against hospital CEO (Dr Lawrence Mantiziba) and the director of operations.
“Given the gravity of the situation, we’ve engaged a top accounting firm, PNA to carry out a forensic investigation on the hospital projects pertaining to radio therapy and other contracts awarded since 2012,” said Moyo-Ncube.
She said the audit would be a “full and thorough no-holds barred investigation.”
Moyo-Ncube said the willingness of partners to develop the hospital hinged on transparency.
She said: “The board would like to assure Bulawayo residents and the rest of the country that it aims to improve patient care at the hospital by bringing sanity on management.”
The chairperson said the board had adopted a stance of zero tolerance to corruption and would leave no stone unturned in eradicating it if it existed at Mpilo Central Hospital.
Moyo-Ncube said the findings and recommendations of the investigation would be forwarded to the Ministry of Health and Child Care.
She said depending on the findings, more investigations could be carried out.
Moyo-Ncube said no one would be suspended for the duration of the investigation as there was no evidence yet, of wrongdoing.
Last week, Moyo wrote to Dr Mantiziba requesting for a bodyguard.
She said she felt unsafe after Mpofu allegedly threatened her following the cancellation of the tender won by his New Planet company.
The tender to refurbish the cancer unit and supply cancer treatment machinery was about 90 percent complete at the time of termination.
Mpofu responded by accusing Moyo of soliciting a bribe from him on behalf of Dr Mantiziba to facilitate release of $35,000 he had said he needed to tie up loose ends.
According to correspondence that Chronicle is in possession of, the hospital responded by demanding that he must deliver the steel for the project to Mpilo, before he could get the money.
Mpofu said Moyo visited him at his service station in Nkulumane where he alleged she drafted a letter that he copied to counter the pre-condition.
He said he typed the letter and sent it to the Health Ministry and Mpilo Central Hospital.
In the letter, Mpofu said the pre-condition was in bad faith as it was impractical and expensive.
He said each of the steel beams weighed about five tonnes and would need to be transported back to the factory for fabrication.
Mpofu told Chronicle the ministry ordered the hospital to pay the money but the executive suddenly terminated his contract saying he had failed to meet numerous deadlines.
The project, awarded in 2012 was supposed to be completed in September 2013.
Mpofu in the letter blamed the hospital for missed deadlines.
He said the institution only finished civil works on which his company was supposed to start building in 2014, way after the first deadline.
The businessman accused Moyo of pursuing a personal vendetta to destroy him.
Mpofu has been named in an alleged $6 million tender fraud at Victoria Falls and Binga.
He is also being investigated in another tender con at Mnene Mission Hospital in Mberengwa.
Mpofu has not been charged over the alleged fraud cases.