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18
Mon, Dec

Auditor General begins processes for forensic audit of Central Medical Stores fire

Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu

The Auditor-General has initiated processes to conduct a forensic audit into the 2015 inferno that reduced the Central Medical Stores (CMS) in Tema to a pile of rubble.

This follows recommendations in an investigative report by a committee that looked into the fire that consumed medicines worth more than GH¢237 million.

The Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, told the media when he took his turn at the meet-the-press series in Accra on Thursday that the Auditor-General had requested the report and when it was submitted to him, he agreed that a forensic audit, recommended by the report, needed to be conducted in order not to bungle the case in court.

Read also: Melcom demands release of investigation report on collapsed building

Arson

He said the Auditor-General had completed processes towards the award of a contract to a consultant to carry out the forensic audit into the January 13, 2015 fire, which is suspected to be arson.

The arsonist was believed to have been paid to set the fire in order to destroy the evidence for an investigation that was to be conducted by the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) into suspected corruption at the CMS.

Twelve officials of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) have been interdicted for their alleged roles in the suspected arson.

Recommendation

The report on the CMS fire, released in January last year, among other things, recommended that a proper forensic audit be conducted to unearth the extent to which consumable and non-consumable drugs had been diverted from the stores.

It is also expected to cover the distribution of mosquito nets meant for the various regional medical stores and district health institutions.

The Health Minister said the government could not go to court without a forensic audit.

No prosecution

Almost three years after the CMS, which held the country's medical supplies, went down in flames, no one has been prosecuted, although investigations pointed to arson.

The situation continues to anger some of the country's development partners, including the United States and the United Kingdom, who have complained about the lack of action.

Mr Agyeman-Manu said the ministry was sourcing funds for the reconstruction of the CMS.

Infrastructural development

He also touched on infrastructural development, such as polyclinics and hospitals that were at various stages of completion across the country.

He said proposed district hospitals for Sawla, Tolon, Somanya, Buipe and Wheta, as well as a polyclinic in Bamboi, had received both Cabinet and parliamentary approval.

On the University of Ghana Medical Centre, Mr Agyeman-Manu said phase one of the facility was yet to be completed.

“Plans are underway to operationalise the University of Ghana Medical Centre after the completion of phase one. Presently, the contractor is fixing some pieces of the medical equipment before operations will commence.

“A memo has been submitted to the Cabinet for $50 million for the completion of work on the phase one and the development of phase two, which will consist of supply, installation, technical support and maintenance of additional specialised medical equipment to complement and complete some areas already built in phase one,” he said.

The second phase is expected to have facilities, including a neurosurgery, a paediatric surgery, a commercial morgue and the construction of 30 two-bedroom housing units for members of staff.

 Mr Agyeman-Manu said this year, the Health Ministry had deployed 16,602 health professionals, comprising 11,573 nurses, 247 medical officers, 1,883 support staff, 938 allied health staff and 106 others, in the medical field.

NHIS

On the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), he said a committee was currently appraising it to make it more vibrant to meet the health needs of the country.

He said the government had cleared a significant portion of its outstanding indebtedness to providers under the scheme.

Currently, he said, outstanding debts of the scheme stood at a little over GH¢874.6 million.