Zimbabwe: Forex Scandal Rocks Clinic

16 September 2020

Nurses and clerks at Harare City Council-run Highfield Polyclinic are in the eye of a storm for allegedly prioritising patients paying US dollars, which they then convert and submit payment in local currency to the hospital on the patients' behalf, prejudicing council of potential revenue in forex.

Some officials at the clinic, including nurses alleged to be involved in the scam, also stand accused of denying patients medication.

The demand for US dollar payments comes against a Government moratorium ordering councils not to peg rates in US dollars, although they may accept forex payments calculated using the prevailing interbank rate.

Presently, eight out of 42 council clinics are operational in Harare, a situation that has seen people with chronic diseases failing to get medication while some pregnant women are reportedly resorting to untrained midwives, although they would have paid maternity fees.

Investigations show that receipts were being issued in local currency even to those that would have paid in forex.

Harare City Council corporate communications manager Mr Michael Chideme said nurses do not receipt money.

He, however, said council "takes the allegations seriously and investigations will be undertaken".

Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) confirmed the development in statement.

CHRA held a meeting at Zimbabwe Hall residents, where it emerged that a group of staffers at Highfield Polyclinic had turned into money-changers.

"Our nurses are not receipting the US dollars that we give them.

"Instead, they are taking the money and use their EcoCash to pay and give us receipts in Zimbabwean dollars.

"It is disappointing that the health personnel are selling drugs while we are told that there is no medication at the clinics. These drugs are sold by night after working hours," reads part of CHRA statement.

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