Make health facilities audit report public - Minority challenges government

BY: Nana Konadu Agyeman
Mr Kwabena Mintah Akandoh — Chairman, Health Committee  of Parliament
Mr Kwabena Mintah Akandoh — Chairman, Health Committee of Parliament

The Minority in Parliament has challenged the government to make public the report of the forensic audit it undertook to investigate contracts awarded during former President John Mahama’s tenure for the execution of various hospital projects.

It said since the government instituted the forensic audit five years ago, it must be bold to come out with the report for Ghanaians to know the truth.

“We are challenging the government that if anybody did anything wrong, the law must take its course. They must stop worrying our ears with the excuse that it is due to the forensic audit that hospital projects have delayed,” it said.

‘People deserve better’

Speaking to the media after Minority members on the Health Committee of Parliament had visited some uncompleted hospital projects in the Ashanti and the Eastern regions last Monday and Tuesday, the Ranking Member of the Health Committee, Mr Kwabena Akandoh, said “If the government thinks anybody has squandered money, the law must take its course and the people must not suffer for delayed projects.

“The people living in communities where these projects are situated deserve better than the treatment meted out to them by this government.”

Mr Akandoh dared the government, after the team had visited district hospitals that were initiated by former President Mahama in Kumawu and Fomena in the Ashanti Region, as well as Abetifi and Somanya in the Eastern Region.

The four hospitals were part of a turnkey arrangement with Messrs NMS Infrastructure and Barclays Bank Plc, London, at an estimated cost of $175 million.

Along with others in the Shai-Osudoku, Sekondi-Takoradi and Garu district and municipalities, the projects started in 2015 and were due to be completed in 2017.

However, their execution had stalled over the past five years following the government’s decision to undertake forensic audit of the contract.

‘Respond to cry of the people’

The MP for Juaboso noted that Ghana had contracted the $175 million facility for the seven hospital projects and the government had been paying interest on the loan, even though the people were not getting full benefits of the projects.

He said the hospitals could be serving the utmost interest of the people of Abetifi, Kumawu, Somanya and Fomena and their environs, the reason the government must commit the needed resources to complete them.

“Since no government can finish projects in one or two terms, when another government inherits projects, it must continue them, so that the people will benefit from such projects.

“Even if there is no law for a government to continue with inherited projects and you are a responsible government, at least the crying of the people must pinch you that they need something,” he said.

He argued that if a project was awarded and the government considered that the funds for its execution were inadequate, it could repackage it and go back to Parliament to seek more funds.

Produce report

A member of the team, Mr Charles Akwasi Agbeve, who is the MP for Agotime-Ziope, said unless the government renegotiated the project contract, Ghana would be paying the interest and the principal for work that had not been completed.

“We have a situation where money has taken and no work has been done and this is total waste,” he said, and called for a reconsideration of the law on causing financial loss to the state.

“If you say you are carrying out a forensic audit to investigate and understand the projects that you came to meet, will it take you five years? If you have done the investigation, we want to see the report, so that we will know the truth. But because you found nothing, you cannot produce the report and the job too you are not able to continue,” he said.

Lead demonstration

Mr Agbeve commended the youth of Abetifi for embarking on a demonstration for the persistent failure of the government to implement the project.

According to him, Abetifi was not a beneficiary of the government’s Agenda 111 hospital projects, since it already had “this project, and that is their fate”.

Members

The group, led by the Ranking Member of the Health Committee, Mr Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, included the Deputy Ranking Member, Dr Mark Kurt Nawaane, who is also the MP for Nabdam; the MP for Techiman North, Mrs Elizabeth Ofosu-Adjare; the MP for Afram Plains North, Mrs Betty Nana Efua Krosbi Mensah; the MP for Agotime-Ziope, Mr Charles Akwasi Agbeve, and the MP for Amenfi West, Mr Eric Afful.