The owner of the logistics company tasked with delivering medicines in the Momase region has admitted to paying more than K100,000 in bribes to a senior Health Department staff in 2014.
Harupa Peke told the Public Accounts Committee that he paid various cash bribes of between K20,000 and K30,000 to Paul Dopsie who is in charge of the Health Department’s tender evaluation team.
The bribes were made at various times when invoices were due for payment.
Mr. Peke’s admission came during a barrage of questions by the deputy chairman of the Public Account Committee, Gary Juffa.
Juffa: “Who asked for these bribes?”
Peke: “The guy in the letter…Paul Dopsie.”
Juffa: “Did you know that What you did was criminal?”
Peke: “I was forced to do it. It was a demand that I paid the money or invoices would be delayed and I won’t be paid.”
Juffa: “Were you paid your invoices after you paid?”
Harupa Peke had laid a complaint after payments for his company’s services went unpaid for several months. The letter of complaint was hand-delivered to the Health Secretary’s office.
Weeks later, the Assistant Secretary responsible for Enforcement in the Finance Department, Mose Puli, advised him that Paul Dopsie would be arrested over the bribery allegations. Mr. Peke was then asked if he was willing to go through with it.
Mr. Peke later wrote to the Health Secretary and withdrew the complaint.
During the investigation this morning, the committee tried to establish if Mr. Peke had felt threatened or was coerced into withdrawing the bribery complaint.
More witnesses are being called to give evidence including Mr. Peke’s accounts clerk, Basil Roma, who was present during one of the bribe payments.