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Review of pharmacists’ salaries, sanctions for P.S. and other staff recommended by Board of Inquiry

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The report on the unauthorised disclosure of information by staff and on the malpractice and mismanagement in the procurement of pharmaceuticals at the Ministry of Public Health has put forward 21 recommendations including the removal of the Permanent Secretary, sanctions and training for other members of staff and a review of remuneration packages being offered to pharmacists at the ministry.

This inquiry was executed by Retired Assistant Commissioner of Police Winston Cosbert.

News Room understands that the Board of Inquiry has found that P.S Trevor Thomas “was willfully evasive and deceptive in his testimony when questioned” but it was “his inability to effectively carry out the mandate of the Ministry” that led to Mr Cosbert to recommend he be removed.

The Cosbert Report also found fault with the now removed Minister of Public Health, Dr George Norton and recommended that he be reminded of his functions as enshrined in Law, specifically the Ministry of Public Health Act, Chapter 32:01.

There was also the recommendation for the censorship of Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ms. Collette Adams, who authorized advance payment on a contract without first perusing same. In addition, it is suggested that the Finance Manager’s contract not be renewed as she failed to properly advise the Deputy P.S although she is acquainted with Government’s financial regulation.

Over at the Materials Management Unit (MMU), it was the Board’s recommendation that staff be “transferred to a department suitable to their qualifications” or alternatively be trained in the area of procurement.

The Cosbert Report is also recommending that legal advice be sought and action brought against some known medical suppliers for various infractions or for their failure to honour their contractual obligations.

There is also the recommendation calling for a review of the security arrangement at the Ministry. “It was found that the present security firm is negligent in the performance of their duties. No records are kept for goods and vehicles entering and leaving the various locations” the report stated.

It was also recommended that all Pharmaceuticals and Pharmaceutical suppliers be registered with the Food and Drugs Department further it was noted that this recommendation be made part of the criteria in the bidding document.

Additionally,  it was suggested that a department be established within the Ministry of Public Health to monitor the finalization of contracts.

On November 2, 2016, the Ministry of the Presidency revealed that the following day Mr Winston Cosbert or the Board of Inquiry would investigate, examine and report on the procurement and management processes by which the Ministry of Public Health awards contracts for the procurement of pharmaceuticals, services and supplies to bidders.

This inquiry was given a November 30 date of completion.

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