Rustenburg – Fired Zambian Health Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya must be prosecuted for his alleged role in a scandal involving expired medicines, leaking condoms and gloves, NGOs say.
The executive director of Transparency International Zambia, Maurice Nyambe, said firing Chilufya was an important and necessary first step towards cleaning up the rot that appeared to be deeply rooted at the ministry of health.
"Our hope is that as important and necessary a step as this is, it will not be the only action we see in response to this scandal,“ he said in a statement.
"We expect that law enforcement agencies will open investigations into Dr Chilufya’s role in the Honeybee scandal and should he be found culpable, he be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
’’We do not believe that dismissing Dr Chilufya should be the end game over this as there are several layers to this scandal.“
Zambian President Edgar Lungu fired Chilufya with immediate effect on Sunday, announcing this in a brief statement on his Twitter account but not giving reasons.
Media reports, however, said the dismissal stemmed from a scandal in which pharmaceutical company Honeybee allegedly supplied expired medicines, leaking condoms and leaking cloves to the ministry of health.
Investigative news website News Diggers quoted Honeybee as saying it had not received a letter from the Zambian Medicine Regulatory Authority to recall any defective gloves and condoms.
According to a report by news website Lusaka Times, another NGO, Anti-Voter Apathy Project, has called for the prosecution of all those involved in the alleged scandal.
Provincial coordinator Amos Muselema said firing Chilufya would restore confidence among stakeholders in the health sector.
The opposition United Party for National Development praised Zambians for joining its cause which it said forced Lungu to fire Chilufya.
Secretary-general Stephen Katuka said if Lungu was serious about the decision, Chilufya should be prosecuted with immediate effect.
"We demand that HoneyBee Pharmaceuticals and HoneyBee Pharmacy to be investigated have their licenses cancelled with immediate effect," he added in a statement.
African News Agency (ANA)