Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Medical Stores Plunder: US$1 million worth of drugs stolen at Medical Stores


An investigation launched by The Global Funds has revealed massive theft of its drugs and health products at Medical Stores Limited totalling US$1.06M over a two year period.

And the Global Fund says it will ask the Zambian government to pay back the stolen funds.

The supplies stolen include 5,790 HIV test kits valued at US$416,379 and 67,967 bottles of antiretrovirals (ARVs) valued at US$423,209 and bottles of antiretrovirals (ARVs) including 11,442 artemisinin-based combination therapy packs (ACTs) valued at US$214,486 and malaria rapid diagnostic test kits (MRDTs) valued at US$10,714.

The theft was discovered after the Global Fund Secretariat based in Geneva, Switzerland in October 2016 and in April 2017 notified the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) that they had been informed by Medical Stores Limited had been stolen from their warehouse.

The Office of the Inspector General also received information that a non-governmental organisation (NGO) had bought HIV test kits in Lusaka, including some financed by the Global Fund that had been originally delivered to Medical Stores.

The ensuing OIG investigation determined that Global Fund financed health products totalling US$1.06M could not be accounted for by Medical Stores and evidence suggests that these products were stolen over a two-year period, between 2014 and 2016.

A report by the Global Funds say the case of theft of products from Medical Stores is currently being investigated by the Zambian Authorities.

The investigation also found that stock quantities recorded in Medical Stores Limited’s electronic warehouse management system were negatively adjusted to reflect missing stock identified during annual stock takes.

Staff at Medical Stores could not explain the stock losses and the OIGs investigation also could not reconcile the stock adjustments with any outbound deliveries, expiries or other events.

The overall loss totals US$1, 064,788, 3.2% of a total of US$33.4M of deliveries investigated.
The Global Funds says these losses are noncompliant expenditure, as per the terms and conditions of the relevant Global Fund grant agreements and concluded that internal controls at Medical Stores were ineffective and resulted in multiple opportunities for theft and misappropriation of assets.

The investigation found that Medical Stores undertook only one stock count in each of the years 2014, 2015 and 2016 and no weekly stock counts were conducted which is contrary to its operating procedures and that there was no meaningful follow-up or investigation of stock variances.

Medical Stores Limited staff were not able to explain the net negative adjustments; the assistant inventory manager suggested that the stock ‘must have been stolen’.

And The Global Funds Executive Director Peter Sands said The Global Fund has zero tolerance for fraud or theft, and is committed to enhancing mitigation measures for operational risks.

“Following an alert to The Global Fund from Medical Store Limited (MSL) that donor-financed commodities had gone missing, this investigation by the Office of the Inspector General found that stock quantities recorded in an electronic warehouse management system by MSL were negatively adjusted to reflect missing stock identified during annual stock takes. Staff could not explain the stock losses and the OIG’s investigation also could not reconcile the stock adjustments with any outbound deliveries, expiries or other events. The overall loss totals US$1 million of the US$33.4 million of deliveries investigated,” Mr Sands said.

Mr. Sands said The Global Fund will take all necessary steps to recover the lost funds in Zambia.


  1. I don’t think that many drugs were stolen,it’s just that we probably don’t have accountability structures and processes in place as required by western donors.We roll different in Africa. We should really stop getting donations from foreign companies they just want to paint a bad picture of Zambians and come and ask for refund.Whichever way you look at it those drugs eventually reached the sick..bushe tulasheta umuti?

    • That is not the point. Its possible the dugs were exported. But even if they were consumed locally, the channel is supposed to be transparent.

    • That’s What greed does. it makes people heartless. They become blinded to the suffering of others. The same kind of greed that drove the Europeans to enslave Africans and treat them worse than animals. It’s the same greed at work here.
      People will steal and steal, but they will try to find a way to justify it because they are benefiting. It’s a good thing, God keeps record of all our actions and he will repay each of us in full.

    • Observer, why are you surprised? The answer is simple. Some people don’t want to be seen at the hospital collecting the drugs they want “privacy “. There’s a guy in Ndola who used to travel to Lusaka for his dosage because he didn’t want his new wife to know his status. Eventually the wife discovered and the marriage is over.

    • This is sad and must worry zambians.
      If they are not stealing drugs they are buying expired ones otherwise they are asking for kickbacks.
      Ever wondered why hospital pharmacies have no drugs but medical staff will tell you where to buy the medicine?
      Why should we all be concerned if you have fake doctors fake drugs fake water fake money fake drinks fake food you will probably have a fake life and DIE early!
      Nobody seems to care anymore you are on your own.

    • The country is rotting rapidly.

      All the good work done by previous presidents (excluding RB) is being undone by Lungu.

      I pray for my dear Zambia, as things will get worse, a lot worse.

    • Any wonder there is no cure for corruption in Zambia – the medicines to effect the cure are gone, the phone lines cut, and the lights out.

    • And someone will state that show us the evidence of rotten corruption….surely these people in ministry of health including the minister who was nicknamed ATM during campaigns are stealing with impunity…buying expired drugs at competitive rates then pocketing the difference.
      This just the tip of the iceberg….

    • So we could have financed this ourselves if we didnt go for those USD 42 million “fire barrows” …….The overall loss totals US$1, 064,788, 3.2% of a total of US$33.4M of deliveries investigated…..I am just not sure if we could have caught this blatant stealing

    • Hardly news really. This is like PF. And these donors are too starry-eyed in most cases. Often they are told don’t just donate and walk away but they ignore such advice. Where was the internal control system at Medical Stores? Why did it take outsiders to bust the scam? If some dictator had banned Christianity in Zambia people would be attributing such things to its absence and goodness knows what people such as Charles Kachikoti, Godfridah Sumaili and Dr Canisius Banda would have been saying. But Christianity is very much here. This is just one more reason I have junked religion in my life. I have read the history of Christianity in Europe and what led to the Reformation resulting in Protestantism. It’s ugly and I had to leave the church.

    • A country of shameless pompwes starting from the vision-less president to the cadre at grassroot….

  2. This is all about money and this is the reason why HIV was invented and manufactured in the first place and in secluded secrete laboratories in the Western world, in order to syphon huge sums of money from you poor Africans. 50 years on, we never seem to learn nor understand the reasons behind these manuvours and merciless killings of the black race. Unless we wake up to fight this devilish attitude by white pipo to the full, our children and indeed grand children shall perish forever.

  3. Theft should not become our identity. President Lungu please dissolve the entire medical stores board if there is any. Make sure that the responsible employees are fired or retired in national interest. It should not end there. They should go to jail. Let them go and join kapoko, these heartless kolwes. we cant go on like this.

  4. Batini! pantu umiti kunwa chapwa. So balinwa abalwele and that is the aim of producing those chemicals. Anyway, shikulu Katongo alilandile ati: UMULEMBWE WACHIPUBA UPWILA MULITUMFWE. I support Maharaji let us reduce on borrowing. By the way where is Sondashi formula?

  5. The theft could have happened over a peiod of two years according to analysis. There’s a huge market of drugs in Congo DR and such can be smuggled by health workers at Ndeke House.
    Remember Kapoko scandle, it’s history repeating itself.

    • “Staff at Medical Stores could not explain the stock losses and the OIGs investigation also could not reconcile the stock adjustments with any outbound deliveries, expires or other events”. This tells that the staff and guards stole. The picker adds on a few more than ordered and so on till gate where guard also pays blind eye to the extras since security camera cannot count and metal detectors are absent to blimp. Home Depot at Manda Hill was bankrupted this same way and many farmers lose this way.

      Kampelwa at C5 is no longer allowed otherwise someone should have sang. Frauds police easy to buy. You are better off with Robots in high value warehouses.

  6. Zambians. …one Zccm coach used to sell new jerseys bought by ZCCM to other clubs. Ordinary thieves were blamed all the time until one of the clubs for some reason reported that coach to the mines. Those who know Kabwe United are familiar with this unfortunate incident.

  7. Those condemning the Global Fund for exposing this theft need have something seriously wrong with them. Zambians have become thieves and this is common knowledge. This is all driven by the desire to acquire things that are beyond their means. This country needs to be cleansed by a strong leader with a big stick and an allergy to theft, and corruption.

  8. its a shame that has happened…auditor general report had misplaced funds now medical funds imwe bantu its clear we have a problem at the top of authority some things need to change…Dr. Chilufya is also corrupt

  9. Investigate all the private clinics and so called hospitals on how they have been procuring their drugs and who their suppliers are. These are straight forward issues. For sure as some have already hinted that the public is told where to get medicine by medical personnel,then how did that medication get there if it is not in hospital pharmacy? Drugs being smuggled to neighbouring countries by small boys sent by Provincial medicals personnel, and the govt. keep transferring and retiring them on public interest instead of locking them up. This is criminal and mismanagement of public resources. We need to change.

  10. Fraud ,corruption and theft in government institutions in Zambia is the new normal because laws do not exist, even if they do , they are disregarded or there is simply no incentive to enforce them. The people who are supposed to enforce the law are the ones responsible for perpetrating these vices.

  11. Are you surprised at the rampant theft and corruption in Zambia when the leader lungu does not attempt or bother to deny accusations that he is a corrupt theif ??

  12. An OIG investigation identified significant unexplained stock losses of US$1,064,788 of Global Fund-financed pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical health products at Zambia Medical Stores Limited between 2014 and 2016. The Global Fund and Medical Stores Limited (MSL) have responded to the findings with strong remedial and preventive measures.

    The investigation found that stock quantities recorded in MSL’s electronic warehouse management system were negatively adjusted to reflect missing stock identified during annual stock takes. MSL staff could not explain the stock losses and the OIGs investigation also could not reconcile the stock adjustments with any outbound deliveries, expiries or other events. The value of the missing health products totals US$1,064,788, representing 3.2% of a…

  13. It is a shame. When will corruption reduce in Zambia. The Anti Corruption Comission is busy pursuing political enemies instead of focussing on real corruption. Shame on this country.

  14. Chain stores have systems if coding all that comes in the shop and decode what is sold or taken out of the shop. Can’t MS use the same systems to monitor there stocks. Systems can detect expired medicines based on dates on manufacturing. Systems can track the distribution of medicines and equipment going out of the MS. Minister Chilufya do something about this to show you are fighting corruption.

  15. What shame…….Is this linked to the mushrooming of Chemistry owned by Health Doctors and Nurses in the compounds?

    What a disgrace…..Government must fire all the officers at Medical stores including the permanent secretary

    • Umuntu

      You are telling us that those congolese who run chemists in chawama and other kombonis are pharmacists ?

  16. Observer government needs to fire itself because the medical store is government owned. Chilufya needs to be fired period if we are to restore trust. We survive on donations and such things should not be tolerated, the stealing is going on because of the top leadership not showing any concern or doing anything to stop the stealing maybe they are stealing too. The worst thing about this is the poor Zambians are the ones to suffer for this

  17. The buck stops at the President. If he was a disciplined person ready to prosecute every corruption case regardless of who is involved, this wouldn’t be happening. It is free for all. Next, we shall hear that Lungu stole the state house. Already his children occupy a ministerial house he lived in as Minister. If that is not the same as stealing medicines at Medical Stores, what is? The president has brought this behavior on the country. The culture of stealing is ruling Zambia.

    • Yes…..and the problem we have is people want to blame everybody else but lungu.

      The buck stops at lungu. He should be leading by example ….already we see he does not deny allegations that he is a corrupt thief……the whole GRZ sees this…..monkey see monkey do……

  18. Just check the backgrounds of all the staff at medical stores and find out how many have been in contact with or are related in any way to Henry kapoko in the last two years and you would have caught your culprits.

  19. The problem is that when you jail lawbreakers you release them Hagain! Please lock all law breakers!

  20. Just wait for National Health Insurance (NHI) collections to kick in and Global fund can collect the refund…. Let us say one million Zambians are made to contribute towards NHI and if the average contribution across is K100 (assuming both employee and employer contributions). In one month, K100 million is collected = $ 10 million. So Zambia will be able to refund on condition that GRZ makes employer contribution for all GRZ employees going by NAPSA experience of non-remittance. Kaya?

  21. You can rest assured that upnd is involved this, no not in expose but in actual stealing. Half the theft and corruprion (maybe even more) can be attributed to upnd, in support of their leader to paint others as corruot or bemba thieves and then they even cekebrate

  22. This is a fake story because the Auditor General could have picked up the amount due to its materiality only UPND sycophants can believe anything written by a white man

  23. When Enock Kavindele was the VP, in expression of indignation about govt’s loss of colossal amounts of money through theft of drugs, he proposed that all govt medicines be embossed with the GRZ logo to help the pillage. Govt as the single largest buyer of drugs needed to implement the measure because most drugs ended up at Drugstores, and in some cases it was buying its own drugs. If Mwami 1 finds out who supplied what those companies bought he would catch the criminals. You can’t lose more than$1.0M and not hold anybody accountable, fire everybody so that they learn

  24. this is what happens when you have a corrupt president and his leadership; thieving goes down to everyone;

  25. Has anyone been arrested? This should not be rocket science. If they found some stolen drugs with an NGO, there is a trail.

  26. I am sure we are all not surprised coz our way of doing things leaves much to be desired. If a relative is working in the hospital we are happy that we will never lack drugs but how those drugs are obtain is not a big deal to us. Its like our saying of ubomba mwibala alyala mwibala. Our whole mentality is so lopsided so much that our thinking will need a big shift right from the highest office in this land .

  27. Ask Dr Chilufya, nikenka number 1. Ambulances and medicine. This all in raising money to finance his building houses. Ba koswe mu mpoto bafula sana.

Comments are closed.

Read more

Local News

Discover more from Lusaka Times-Zambia's Leading Online News Site -

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue Reading