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EOCO to investigate payment for 30 ambulances

The Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman Manu, says the Ministry of Health has discovered that state funds were used to illegally pay for the 30 ambulances that were rejected by the National Ambulance Service (NAS).

Mr Agyeman Manu said he was, therefore, referring the matter to the national security and the Economic and Organised Crime (EOCO) for further investigations in order to retrieve the said amount establish who made the payments and to whom it was made.

The minister announced his discovery and intention when he addressed journalists in Accra when he paid unannounced visits to some health facilities in Accra and Tema to familairise himself with their work and motivate them.

He visited the Tema and La General hospitals, the old and new central medical stores and the Burma Camp to see the ambulances.

Mr Agyeman-Manu said the search indicated that the ambulances were paid for through the Bank of Ghana instead of the Ministry of Finance but all search to uncover who made the payment and to whom it was made had proved futile, therefore, his decision to involve the national security.

The 30 ambulances, which formed part of 200 ambulances that were to be procured by the Ministry of Health to boost the healthcare delivery under a contract, cost 2.4 million Euros and was rejected because they did not meet specifications.

Each of the ambulances cost 79,000 euros.

Supplier has not received the payment

Mr Agyeman-Manu said although payment had been done, the supplier, Big Sea, said the payment was not done to him neither had the company received any payment for the ambulances.

It is  observed that the ambulances were improvised. They were sprinter buses fitted with kitchen panels which did not have locks to keep them in place from falling on patients on the ambulance.

The rejected but illegally paid for ambulances are currently parked at the Airforce base.

Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer of the NAS, Professor Ahmed N. Zakariah, said the service, contrary to due purchasing processes, was not included in the purchasing process.

“It was only allowed to do a post inspection and that was when we discovered that they were improvised and ,therefore, would not give value for the cost or could serve their purpose effectively so were rejected,” he said.

Central medical stores

At the Central Medical stores, Mr Kwaku Agyeman Manu said the report on the fire incidence that destroyed the facility recommended a forensic report and, therefore, the auditor general was facilitating that to provide evidence to prove it was arson in court.

However, he said the government was looking for money and partners to rebuild the facility as the improvised rented one had limited space to deliver efficiently the mandate of a central medical store.

Tema General Hospital

At the Tema General Hospital, the Medical Director, Kwabena Opoku-Adusei, who conducted the minister around the facility, appealed to the government to give the hospital a face lift entirely.

He also appealed to the government to support the management of the hospital complete uncompleted projects such as the maternity block and the mortuary to boost its operations.

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