DEC clamps three Chipata pharmacists over drug theft, illicit possession

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IN a significant crackdown, the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) in Chipata, Eastern Province, has detained three pharmacists on charges of stealing government drugs and possessing suspected illicit gains.

The accused, identified as Willard Mugala, 42, Tamara Kamanga, 42, and Fortune Mtonga 40, face legal action for theft by public servant and possession of property suspected of being proceeds of crime.

Amidst the country crisis of having essential medicine stocked in health facilities, it is reported that the trio made away with 897 containers of Septrin antibiotic tablets valued at K897,000.

According to DEC, the drugs were taken between March 1 and August 14 this year, while the accused were employed at the Chipata District Health Office.

DEC also seized assets in connection to the case including; four vehicles, several flats, a house, and a plot of land.

“As part of the investigation, the DEC has seized various assets associated with the suspects. These include four motor vehicles, two sets of three semi-detached flats, two sets of two semi-detached flats, a three-bedroom house, and a plot of land,” dissosed DEC public relations officer Hussein Khan.

Additionally, four bank accounts tied to the suspects, with a total balance of K34,465.95, have been frozen.

The accused are presently on bond and set to appear in court soon.

DEC expressed concern over drug theft from government health facilities, highlighting its commitment to halt this practice.

“DEC will do its part to ensure that essential drugs meant for the Zambian people do not find their way into private pharmacies and wishes to inform members of the public that it has intensified its surveillance measures and will not hesitate to bring culprits to book,” said Khan.

By Moses Makwaya

Kalemba August 23, 2023

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