Thursday 17 June 2021
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Health ministry overcharged N$257million by NIP due to error

By Staff Reporter

A Namibian Association of Medical Aid Funds (NAMAF) charge error resulted in the Ministry of Health and Social Services being erroneously overcharged N$257 million in viral load tariff by the Namibia Institute of Pathology (NIP).
NAMAF is a juristic body, established in terms of the Medical Aid Funds Act, 1995 (Act 23 of 1995) to control, promote, encourage and co-ordinate the establishment, development and functioning of Medical Aid Funds in Namibia.
A viral load is a measure of the number of viral particles present in an organism or environment, especially the number of HIV viruses in the bloodstream. Meanwhile, the overcharged viral load tariff is said to have remained in place from the period of October 2016 to June 2018.
This damning revelation is contained in minutes seen by The Patriot and taken during a NIP meeting held on 12 September 2018 held by the company’s chairperson, Fanuel Tjivau and management.
The Patriot can exclusively reveal that after taking note of this anomaly, an agreement between NIP and the health ministry was reached that viral load charges per test would be N$845. According to the documents, the ministry further requested an additional write-off amounting to N$ 145 million said to be arising from a retrospective application of a 45% discount granted on viral load test for the period ‘between’ October 2016 to June 2018.
The meeting resolved that the ministry put in writing its request to NIP for the writing off of part of the N$257 million debt.
Another revelation was that consulting fees as at 31st March 2018 had exceeded the YTD budget provision by 42% and also exceeded prior year comparative expenses by 17%.
According to the minutes, NIP’s Chief Financial Officer ()CFO) Sakeus Kamati  noted that the overspent expenses were made up of payments made to Pricewaterhousecoopers to the tune of N$ 75, 572 an entity called LTS which was paid N$100,000 and Oshana Solutions which got N$ 158,700.
Kamati disclosed that these expenses were incurred in the 1st quarter of the 2018/2019 financial year.

Unbudgeted meetings
Another expose was that directors remunerations exceeded budget by 67% due to two extra ordinary board meetings held in the first quarter of 2018/2019 financial year that were not budgeted for.
Kamati explained: “That Board members sitting and retainer allowance increase as per the Ministry of Public Enterprises directives. The aforesaid, directives were issued after the budget approval.”
The meeting also discussed an N$11, 285,065 leave provision while the Audit, Risk and ICT Committee meeting resolved that management should investigate whether it was possible to force employees to go on leave and/ or to forfeit the accrued leave days as per Leave policy.
Another resolution was that NIP was to consider developing a leave plan that was suitable to the organisation with a view to address leave accrual challenges and submit the same at its next Audit, Risk & ICT Committee meeting.

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