Georgetown Hospital board promises probe of illegal transactions
...once official request made
Guyana Chronicle
September 14, 2002

Related Links: Articles on health
Letters Menu Archival Menu

THE Board of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) yesterday assured that any formal or official complaint of irregular, illegal or corrupt transactions by any GPHC employee - of any status - will be diligently investigated with appropriate action taken consequent upon the findings.

In response to allegations of corrupt practices at the institution by the opposition People's National Congress Reform (PNC/R), the board, in a press release said that no request has been made by any source for it to investigate any wrongdoing, whether alleged or real.

At its weekly press conference Thursday, the PNC/R said it has been more than a week since it made public "blatant corruption" at the hospital and that it is also many months since the alleged corrupt practices of an official were brought to the attention of the Minister of Health and the Chairperson of the Board of the GPHC, Mrs. Doreen De Caires.

It added that at least a week has elapsed since the Auditor General's report confirmed some of the illegal acts which have been perpetrated.

According to the PNC/R, the nation's public property has been invaded and used for private benefit.

It said that while the evidence fingers senior staff as well as known businessmen, to date no punitive action is forthcoming, and asked why the Government failed to take decisive action to punish this.

The hospital board, however, explained that Director of Financial and General Service, Mr. Mahase Pertab, whose services have been terminated, was appointed to his position by Chief Executive Officer Mr. Michael Khan in keeping with the provisions of the CEO's authority and that the new board was constituted and installed in March.

It said Pertab, who even acted as CEO for three months, had never reported any irregularities he claims to have unearthed to the board.

"These allegations, whether they can be substantiated or not, are being selectively publicised now that his services have been terminated," it stated.

The board said it has indicated to Pertab to submit in detail his allegations which will attract its full investigation and response.

Citing examples of alleged corruption at the institution, PNC/R Executive Member, Mr. Jerome Khan, in reading a prepared statement, said that for more than a year a popular local pharmacy imported a stock of injection at the behest of, it claimed, an official and sold it to the hospital at a price of $1,100 per vial. The same pharmacy normally sold the injection over the counter for $900, the party said.

The PNC/R said that the hospital never advertised publicly inviting bids from suppliers for these injections, but instead a clandestine private arrangement was made by the official.

The party also said that another drug was supplied to the hospital for more than $9.5M which should have been sanctioned by the Central Tender Board.

It said that this drug was usually purchased from T. Geddes Grant Limited which is its sole distributor in Guyana on behalf of the manufacturer, Pfizer Corporation of the USA.