THREE Ministry of Health (MoH) employees and two businessmen have appeared in the Lusaka Magistrate’s Court for stealing HIV test kits.
The trio James Kalaba 41, Jerome Zulu 35 both laboratory technician and Seay Nyendwa 27 a biomedical laboratory technician are facing one count of theft by public servant contrary to section 272 and 277 of the Laws of Zambia.
And the two businessmen Innocent Chambawilo 35 and Jasper Chambawilo, 30 all from Matero Township in Lusaka are facing one count of conveying stolen property contrary to section 319 (b) of the Laws of Zambia.
In count one the accused being persons employed in the MoH as lab technicians and biomedical lab technicians did jointly steal 50 by 100 determine HIV test kits altogether valued at K5,000 the property of the Government which came into their possession by virtue of their employment between June 16 and November 16 last year.
The two businessmen are alleged to have jointly conveyed 50 by 100 determine HIV test kits valued at K5,000 the property of which were reasonably suspected to have been stolen or unlawfully obtained from the Government.
They all took plea before Lusaka Magistrate Irene Wishimanga where they all denied the charge and trial had been set for January 15, 2017.
Recently a sister paper the Sunday Times carried an article where a coalition of civil society organizations expressed their grave concern regarding the current HIV test kit shortage nationwide.
They warned that unless the situation was addressed immediately, the community of people living with HIV and AIDS (PLA) would have no option but to embark on mass action.
“Recent developments such as the delivery of expired test kits to facilities in February and the expiration of about 500,000 test kits in the country’s’ medical store has highlighted Zambia’s poor supply chain management system,” they said.
The group called on the government to ensure that someone is held accountable for these avoidable lapses in HIV test kit supply.
The coalition stressed that CSOs have a moral responsibility to speak out against acts of negligence, corruption and misapplication of resources in any public office that might bring disrepute to the country and untold suffering to innocent Zambian citizens.