SHILLONG, Nov 14: Following allegations of gross embezzlement of funds which was meant for the HIV prevention programme, the Civil Society Women’s Organization (CSWO) has demanded that an inquiry, ether by the CID or CBI is conducted to get to the bottom of the matter.
A RTI report had revealed that the Voluntary Health Association of Meghalaya (VHAM) had allegedly embezzled an amount to the tune of Rs 39.91 lakh sanctioned by National AIDS Control Society (NACO).
“We demand a time bound CID investigation or a CBI investigation as gross human rights violations has arisen affecting human lives and also corruption and misuse of public money is evident,” CSWO president Agnes Kharshiing said in a statement issued here on Tuesday.
She expressed the organization’s shock upon learning that Rs 39.91 lakh has been allegedly embezzled by the VHAM with regards to the Targeted Intervention for Injecting Drug Users (TI-IDU) at Jowai and Ladrymbai.
The TI-IDU was sanctioned by NACO for Human Immuno Deficiency Virus (HIV) Prevention and for the safety of the marginalized community under the targeted intervention projects in Meghalaya.
Reports had earlier indicated the VHAM based at Jowai had embezzled Rs 15 lakh, funds meant for distributing expired syringes to the injecting drug users from January 2016 till June 2017.
VHAM had earlier clarified that they did not procure any needle syringes, alcohol swabs, distilled water and such from the Pharmacies that were submitted as bills to the Meghalaya Aids Control Society (MACS) Shillong.
Quoting RTI findings, Kharshiing however said certain developments have also come to light where in Rs 30.92 lakh has been paid to K Chyrmang between the 10.01.2012 till 18.05.2017 and an amount of Rs 8.98 lakh has been paid to Lucky Bareh, the brother of the Counsellor of VHAM Jowai TI-IDU, Dakapaia Bareh, between 26/04/2010 till 12/09/2012.
Strangely Lucky Bareh has recently denied his involvement in the affair, as pointed out by Kharshiing.
However, Kharshiing said as per RTI, the bank statement of Corporation Bank, Laitumkhrah has reflected clearly that the certain Lucky Bareh’s name is reflecting in the Bank statement from 2010 to 2012.
“Further, cash memos with the VHAM Lad Rymbai, reflected the name of Lucky Bareh as Proprietor RB Pharmacy, Jowai,” she stated.
As per the fact finding report of NETSU (North East Technical Unit) and MACS, K Chyrmang is a taxi driver and the receipts produced and available with MACS are from 12 Dolloi Pharmaceuticals, Jowai which indicates that K Chyrmang is the proprietor 12 Dolloi Pharmaceuticals, though VHAM had clarified that VHAM has never done any sort of procurement from RB Pharmacy or from 12 Dolloi Pharmaceuticals.
Kharshiing stated that strangely the two individuals K Chyrmang and Lucky Bareh to whom VHAM had paid lakhs of rupees are not the proprietors of RB Pharmacy or 12 Dolloi Pharmaceuticals.
Also, as per the fact finding report Sept 2017, VHAM CC (Core Composite) Lad Rymbai, East Jaintia Hills District, Meghalaya, has been knowingly distributing expired syringes and according to the report was instructed to intentionally distribute the expired syringes.
“The reports further indicates that IDUs who dare question the authority of VHAM TI-IDU Jowai were banned from the DIC or implicated in a false case and were deprived of their services that is their medication and this is a great Human right violation,” Kharshiing said.
“With all the supervisory visits made by ADTI MACS, it is surprising that these anomalies mentioned could not be detected, despite VHAM Jowai reporting increasing numbers of IDU monthly and yearly,” she added.