Amuru District leaders have petitioned Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee to investigate the giveaway of Government GeneXpert machine to a private service provider at Elegu.
The GeneXpert appliance is a state of the art machines acquired by the Ministry of Health in May 2021 to performs advanced rapid and diagnostic testing of novel Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19) at Port Health Customs.
Michael Lakony, the District Chairperson says the machine is being operated by a private health service provider, Test and Fly Laboratory, one of the 14 laboratories accredited by the Health Ministry to undertake Covid-19 testing.
Lakony explained that Test and Fly Laboratory found its way into Elegu without any written authorization from the Ministry of Health and continues to generate revenue which is not remitted to Government.
At first, Lakony disclosed that the Ministry of Health officials opposed the installation of the machine at Elegu, arguing it required a hospital set up but the same Ministry backtracked and installed the machine in the multi-complex One-Stop Border Post building.
The leaders say when the GeneXpert machine was still under the management of Amuru Health Department, the district would collect the monthly revenue of 200 million Shillings and remit to the Consolidated Fund.
Polly Philip Okin Ojara, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and Chua West County MP in Kitgum District said Parliament must establish whether the machine giveaway is a Private Public Partnership – PPP arrangement.
The Foreign Affairs Committee Deputy Chairperson, Boaz Katsirabo Ninsiima, also the Kooki County MP in Rakai District said they will produce a report that will aid Parliament to discuss and make appropriate recommendations on the matter.
Other leaders say the activities of the Test and Fly Laboratory are not any different from the Government’s newly established COVID-19 laboratory in the neighbouring Adjumani District, less than 75km away.
On Thursday, the Legislators on the two committees of Foreign and East Africa Community Affairs visited the border as part of oversight and fact-finding mission, to assess the state of the cross border relations and management.
A source privy to the new laboratory that preferred anonymity because of conflict of interest in the matter, disclosed that arrangements to establish the lab were hurriedly conceived and bypassed the approval of key stakeholders given the lucrative nature of the business.
When contacted, Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the Health Ministry’s Senior Communications Officer couldn’t be reached for an explanation how government equipment ended up being used by a private company collecting hundreds of millions of shillings the previously used to go to the consolidated fund, without any document or authorization involving the Amuru Health Department under which it was deployed.