By: Kelvin Chiringa
The ministry of finance has issued a warning that it will be clamping down on non-public servants making use of Public Service Employee Medical Aid Scheme membership cards, in an apparent attempt to sweep corruption from the system.
The ministry has said that it has it on good authority that there are some members of the public who are not public service employees or dependents using bogus PSEMAS medical aid cards.
These cards are said to be belonging to former members who may be deceased or resigned.
In the meantime, the ministry has instructed holders of such cards to hand them over during the course of March until its ending.
“The ministry of finance would like to request members of the general public who are in possession of PSEMAS membership cards or receiving PSEMAS membership benefits, while not employed as public servants or dependents to surrender with immediate effect such cards before the 31st of March 2019,” said the ministry.
This is a voluntary grace period during which if one fails to surrender such cards, the ministry will resort to legal action against such culprits.
Getting rid of bad apples
Meanwhile, the Anti-Corruption Commission late last year arrested a chief accountant at the finance ministry for abetting a woman to commit medical aid fraud between 2015 and 2017.
The ACC brought to book, Jacque Etienne Coetzee (43) and his accomplice Rosa Sindy Beukes (30) after it discovered that Coetzee had provided Beukes with a PSEMAS card and registered her on the PSEMAS system as a government employee when in fact she had never been employed by the government.
Finance minister Calle Schlettwein has also disclosed that a forensic audit in the operations of PSEMAS was progressing to finality saying that he will leave no stone unturned to bring to books any identified fraudsters.
Reports are that the government’s medical aid fund has been bleeding on average more than N$900 million annually to fraud, abuse, waste, and collusion.
This figure was disclosed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) via its financial risk report for Namibia which is dated 23 November 2018.