The Ministry of Health has come out to say it supports any efforts aimed at helping government to expose individuals involved in stealing government medicines and other commodities.
This comes after journalists attached to BBC and NBS TV were arrested and detained by Police on allegations of illegal possession of classified government drugs.
Those arrested included Kassim Muhammad, Rashid Kaweesa, Godfrey Badebye, all BBC journalists and their driver, as well as Vivian Sserwanja, the wife to NBS investigative journalist, Solomon Sserwanja. Vivian is also the PRO at the Ministry of Health.
Police said they were arrested following a tip to security agencies on Wednesday, that a group of people was buying government drugs illegally.
The group was however later released on Friday on Police bond.
NBS Television said in a statement that the arrested journalists were arrested while on duty – doing a joint investigative story with BBC on the alleged sale of Uganda government drugs on the black market.
The Ministry of Health has now issued a statement expressing shock over the drug theft rackets that still operate in the country.
“We are shocked and concerned that there are still drug theft rackets operating in the country,” Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the Senior Public Relations Officer at Ministry of Health said in a statement.
“As a Ministry, we support any endeavor that is aimed at helping government to expose individuals involved in stealing government medicines and other commodities,” the Ministry added.
Meanwhile the government spokesperson, Ofwono Opondo has confirmed that the NBS TV journalists contacted the State House Health Monitoring Unit to collaborate on tracking service delivery and medicines.
However, Opondo said that no a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) had been signed to that effect.
According to Opondo, the journalists went out to purchase government drugs and were arrested, and therefore, the Health Monitoring Unit isn’t part of their action.