6 Remanded Over NHIS Forgery Case (pg 3)

AN Accra Circuit Court has remanded six persons in prison custody for their alleged involvement in acts of forgery and embezzlement which have undermined the operations of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in the Jomoro and Mporhor Wassa East districts of the Western Region.

The accused persons involved in the Jomoro District malfeasance, Cynthia Bayejena and Grace Danso, nurses at the Tikobo No. 2, and Ahobre No. 2 Health Centres, respectively; John K. Nyamekeh, a dispensing chemist; David Nelson, a chemical seller and NHIS service provider, and Emmanuel Zakaria, a driver at the Half Assini Hospital, were each charged with three counts of forgery of official documents, conspiracy and stealing, contrary to Section 158 of Act 29/60.

The sixth accused person, John Aryeh, a chemical seller at Mpohor, was charged with uttering forged document and stealing GH¢14,000 from the NHIS.

Counsel for the accused persons, Mr George Asamaney, had prayed the court to grant the accused persons bail as they were providing essential services in rural areas where personnel were inadequate.

He said all the forms submitted for claims were duly endorsed by the respective hospitals, hence no case of forgery could be established against the accused persons.

However, his application for bail was denied and the court, presided over by Mr Justice D. E. K. Daketsey, adjourned the case to June 7, 2010.

According to the facts of the cases, as stated by the prosecutor, ASP E.S.S. Koranteng, between January and December 2009, the management of the NHIS, acting upon information that fraudulent deals were being perpetrated in the Jomoro District in the Western Region, made a report to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Headquarters and the suspects were arrested from their various workplaces.

He said investigations later revealed that the duties of Cynthia and Grace were to prescribe drugs which were not readily available at the health centres to patients.

After prescribing the drugs, they issued different prescription forms for the same drugs or prescribed higher value drugs using the same patients’ names and then handed them over to David to prepare the invoice for the non-supplied drugs.

David, who is licensed to sell Class ‘C’ drugs, accepted all forms of prescriptions given to him by the nurses. Class C drugs are sold provided they are on a medical form.

For John K. Nyamekeh, even though he served patients with the prescribed drugs, he prepared his own prescription forms by writing different drugs of high value which had nothing to do with the drugs prescribed and then claimed the money from Nelson.

The prosecutor stated that Zakaria, who is a driver at the hospital’s dispensary and had access to prescription forms, took undue advantage and wrote his own prescription forms and then submitted them to Nelson for money.

ASP Koranteng stated that further investigations revealed that between GH¢ 9,000 and GH¢10,000 was stolen from the scheme monthly through such fraudulent transactions.

The sixth accused, Aryeh, was also arrested through similar investigations.

ASP Koranteng said when the report was made to the CID, it contacted the Mpohor Wassa Hospital pharmacist, who denied having such prescription forms.

He said investigations revealed that the accused acted fraudulently and collected GH¢14,000 from the scheme

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