Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) and the chief medical director of University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Prof. Ikpeme Ikpeme, have denied defrauding the federal government of the N540 million training allowance.
Their denial followed a report that anti-graft agencies would investigate them for illegal employment of doctors who were paid the allowance.
The report claimed that Ikpeme employed 100 doctors without due process while his counterpart in the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, engaged 205 doctors in the same manner, and collected training allowance on their behalf.
In its response yesterday, NARD said its members did not defraud the federal government, saying rather the government through the Integrated Payment and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), paid some of its members in excess for some months, which the association alerted the appropriate authorities and requested that an account be provided for its members to refund the excess payment.
NARD president, Dr Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, said many of the doctors had refunded the money and they have documents for prove this.
LEADERSHIP recalled that the House of Representatives had on April raised the alarm that a group of syndicate among the civil servants and operators of IPPIS were allegedly involved in manipulating the system to defraud the government.
This was in reaction to the multiple payments of salaries to a group of resident doctors in certain hospitals across the country.
The House with the Federal Ministry of Health, Federal Ministry of Labour and other relevant bodies, resolved to set up a committee to be headed by a director in the Federal Ministry of Labour with membership from the Federal Ministry of Health, NARD, IPPIS and Committee of CMD to look at issues.
On the smuggling of names into the training programme and illegal recruitment in some Teaching hospitals by their CMDs, Prof. Ikpeme debunked the allegation, saying the story was untrue.
Speaking with LEADERSHIP, Ikpeme said, “I am just reading that now. The information is cued in a different direction. I do not know where they got this kind of information.”
The CMD, however, said he was aware of rumour making the rounds in the city of Calabar that he got over 100 doctors engaged without approval of appropriate quarters.
Meanwhile, the ongoing strike by the resident doctors entered the 44th day today while the court hearing on the case between the striking doctors and the federal government is coming up tomorrow.
Efforts by the government to end the strike have failed as NARD insist that the strike continues till their demands are met.