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The Nampula City Court in northern Mozambique on Thursday sentenced 14 staff from the Nampula Central Hospital and the Provincial Directorate of Health to between three months and eight years imprisonment for the theft of more than 2.7 million meticais (about 43,000 US dollars, at current exchange rates) from the hospital, which is the largest health unit in the northern provinces.
According to the report on the trial in Friday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, the theft took place simply by illicitly transferring funds from the hospital to private bank accounts, which required the complicity of staff working in the hospital accounts department.
Two people regarded as ringleaders were sentenced to eight years. Three others were sentenced to six, four and two years respectively. Eight of those convicted received prison sentences of three month and ten months, which were converted into fines.
One of the suspects is regarded as a fugitive and was tried in absentia, while one person was acquitted for lack of proof that he was involved in the theft.
The public prosecutor, Freddy Jamal, said that only 700,000 meticais has been recovered out of the over 2.7 million stolen..Nonetheless, he claimed to be satisfied at the prison sentences imposed by the court.
“This is a warning to all public servants, and to society at large, that we are paying attention to these illegal practices committed inside the state”, said Jamal. “And we shall continue to work to raise the awareness of all citizens”.
The trial began in November last year. At the time, the Nampula branch of the Central Office for the Fight against Corruption (GCCC) said that some of the stolen money went into the accounts of the accused themselves, while the rest was channelled to the accounts of citizens who had nothing to do with the hospital.Source: AIM