THE Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) says it is investigating the alleged irregularities regarding the Ministry of Health’s decision to award a tender to HoneyBee Pharmacy.

Responding to a press query, ACC public relations manager Timothy Moono confirmed that investigations on the awarding of the controversial tender were underway.

“I wish to acknowledge receipt of your press query in which you wanted to find out the following; whether the Commission is investigating irregularities in the award of a tender by the Ministry of Health to HoneyBee Pharmacy; and Whether the Commission is investigating reports surrounding an employee of the Ministry of Health drawing 10 salaries and another employee drawing full salaries for 12 years, whilst on study leave. I wish to confirm that the Anti-Corruption Commission is investigating the alleged irregularities regarding the award of a tender by the Ministry of Health to HoneyBee Pharmacy,” Moono said.

But Moono said the Commission had not yet taken interest in investigating the case in which a Ministry of Health employee in Mpongwe District on the Copperbelt Province was drawing 10 salaries using 10 bank accounts because the Commission had still not received any report.

“Regarding the revelations of two employees drawing salaries illegally, I wish to inform you that the Commission has not received a report and is not investigating this matter,” stated Moono.

An investigation into the supply of toxic drugs by HoneyBee Pharmacy last month revealed that the firm submitted falsified financial statements to the Ministry of Health in order to win the US $17 million Health Centre Kits tender.

Sources close to the investigation told News Diggers! that apart from failing ZAMRA inspection, HoneyBee Pharmacy also submitted fake statements of account to the procurement committee, and the contract was awarded based on false information regarding the firm’s capacity to deliver specified goods in the bid.

According to bid documents seen by News Diggers!, HoneyBee submitted financial statements purporting to have been audited by a company called I.Dore to the effect that the Pharmacy had the financial capacity to execute the procurement of 22,500 Health Centre Kits within a delivery period of eight to 12 weeks.

“In our opinion, the financial statements give a true and fair view of the financial position of HoneyBee Pharmacy as at 31 December, 2017, and of its performance and cashflows for the year then ended in accordance with the International Financial Reporting standards and the requirements of the Zambian Companies Act,” read the HoneyBee audit report, purportedly prepared by I.Dore company.

“…misstatements can arise from fraud or error and are considered material if, individually or in aggregate, they could reasonably be expected to influence the economic decision of users taken on the basis of these statements.”

But sources revealed that the audit firm distanced itself from HoneyBee when the audit report was brought under scrutiny.

“The only challenge we have here is that there is no green light yet to make arrests and prosecute this case, but we have the file. It’s a straightforward case of corruption and money laundering. For example, you are aware that HoneyBee failed ZAMRA inspection, but they were still given a licence illegally because they needed that licence to win the tender. Apart from that, they also provided an audit report from that company, I.Dore. As you could see from the bid, the financial statements submitted even had signatures, but when I.Dore was queried, they denied ever auditing HoneyBee. That’s the report we have, I.Dore distanced itself from the HoneyBee audit report, meaning this also becomes a case of investigation for ZICA, you might wish to ask them what they know about this,” the sources said.

“But you might also be looking at a possibility that there was collusion between HoneyBee and I.Dore because there is a trail of misinformation on the file. HoneyBee also claimed that they supplied drugs to Malawi and the South African government, but that has also been established as false. We have all that detail on file, what is remaining is sanction for us to move in. But like I said, there is no push on this case at this stage, we don’t know.”