Hospital, two senior staff disagree over alleged N400,000 fraud

The Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Enugu has suspended the Principal and Vice Principal of its School of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, Mrs. Ruth Buzo-Madulia and Mr. Afam Ndu, over alleged embezzlement of examination fees paid by students.

The duo were sanctioned for failure to remit N400,000 collected from the 2016 set of students as part of application, registration, certificate and licensing fees to the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria.

It was gathered that each of the 31 students who graduated in 2016 was made to pay over N48,000, amounting to over N1.5million, into the personal account of the vice principal to enable them collect their psychiatric nursing licence. However, one year after the payment was made and graduation, they could neither be registered nor get the licence.

The students, through their class representatives, petitioned the management of the hospital and demanded investigation of the matter.

The letter announcing the suspension of the two school heads was copied to the Minister of State (Health) and dated January 30, 2018 by the Medical Director, Dr Jojo Onwukwe. He accused the duo of gross incompetence.

“The students petitioned management because the Nursing and Midwifery Council withheld their registration, notification and licence, since
November 2016 when they passed out until date. The council said the 2016 set paid N400,000.00 short of the fees. The correct fees for the 31 candidates is N1,550,125 but the school remitted only N1,150,125 having unpaid balance of N400,000,” he said.

Onwukwe attached a letter from the nursing council signed by the Head of Accounts, D.O. Tokunboh where details of transaction with the school was made as well as the shortfall of N400,000. He said the two school heads were queried and they accepted knowledge of the transaction.

According to the CMD, the suspension was based on the recommendation of a panel headed by a Chief Consultant Psychiatric, Dr. J.U Achor, which
the hospital set up on the matter. He said it was to pave the way for thorough investigation.

When contacted, Buzo-Madulia and Ndu denied embezzling the funds, even as they claimed that the hospital authorities lacked power to suspend them.

They alleged that the nursing council whose duty it is to licence the students was indebted to the school to the tune of N400,000 being over- payment they made for the November 2016 examination.

They said the failure of the council to refund the over-payment made them to remit N1,150,125, instead of N1,515,125 collected from the affected students.

Buzo-Madulia and Ndu stated that the over payment into the council’s account by the school was through First Bank electronic remitta No. R118804406. They said they had communicated this to the council in their letters.

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