The nation’s premier hospital, Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital is in the news again, not because of a record breaking surgery it has chalked in the medical world or the commissioning of a state-of-the-art medical facility, but, it’s Acting Chief Executive Officer, Rev. Albert Okpoti Botchway has bought a sleek Audi A8, 2013 model saloon car worth over GH¢200.000.00 (Two Billion Old Ghana Cedis) to the chagrin of the staff of the Hospital.
According to www.cars.com , prices for the Audi A8 which has Standard Google Earth and Wi-Fi capability, ranges from $72,200–$134,500 depending on the features.
The clear show of opulence and ostentatious expenditure by Rev. Botchway has sent tongues wagging among the staff especially coming on the heels of reported cases of unavailability of hospital equipment such as special needles, catheters, blood collection tubes etc. Cases of some women who spend their labour period in wheel chairs at the Maternity Ward and patients being resuscitated in plastic chairs at the Emergency Unit are common spectacles at Korle-Bu.
The purchase of the sleek vehicle for the use of the Acting C.E.O which has the blessing of the Board of Directors also comes a few months after Scandal reported that the Korle-Bu Board under the Chairmanship of Eddie Annan had approved that one Godfred Ahianyo who doubles as Chairman of a three-member sub-committee be paid a Gross Salary of Mr. Ahianyo is Gh¢9,352.17 with a net monthly income of Gh¢7,341.02.
What is more intriguing about the acquisition of the sleek vehicle is that Rev. Botchway has parked the vehicle at his Dansoman-based residence and has kept on using his Land Cruiser, raising suspicion that he wants to take the vehicle home as part of his retirement package.
In an interview with Scandal on Wednesday, Rev. Botchway admitted that the Hospital was facing myriad of challenges such as “refurbishment of the Hospital, acquisition of equipment” etc.
While he admitted that he had bought the sleek vehicle at that cost, it was not his personal decision but that of the Board of Directors. A man who introduced himself as the Internal Auditor who sat through the interview also disclosed that it was the practice of Korle-Bu to purchase a new vehicle for any newly appointed Chief Executive to facilitate his duties and that it had the approval of both Parliament and the Ministry of Health.
Asked why he had decided to park the new vehicle in his house Rev. Botchway responded that “My personal car is stronger than the new one that is why I prefer to use the Land Cruiser instead of the Audi”.
It would be recalled that early this year, Scandal in a publication stated that tension had started mounting between the Board of Directors of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital and the Ministry of Health as the former had snubbed a directive from the Ministry to discontinue payment of huge sums of money to one Board Member, Godfred Ahianyo who doubles as Chairman of a three-member sub-committee.
Although the Ministry through a formal letter dated December 24, 2012, labeled the payment of GH¢2,900 monthly allowance/salary to Mr. Ahianyo “as a clear case of conflict of interest”, the Board, under the Chairmanship of Mr. Edward Annan extended the disputed appointment of Mr. Ahianyo for one year with enhanced benefits.
According to the appointment letter signed by Mr. Annan, dated 13th December, 2013, Mr. Ahianyo in an enhanced package, is entitled “to a salary plus market premium”.
Scandal has intercepted a payment voucher for December, 2013 pre-audited and stamped on 21st January, 2014 which states that the Gross Salary of Mr. Ahianyo is Gh¢9,352.17 with a net monthly income of Gh¢7,341.02. The market premium alone for Mr. Ahianyo is pegged at a whopping Gh¢2,997.79 which is almost the same as the allowance he was collecting last year on monthly basis.
In the lapsed appointment, Mr. Ahianyo, as Head of a Three-Member Restructuring Committee was to be treated as a Director of the Hospital with benefits such as a duty post vehicle, duty post accommodation and a monthly telephone credit of GHc60.00.
In addition to that, Mr. Ahianyo was entitled to “any other facilities/benefits which are not stated specifically in this letter but which are enjoyed by the senior staff of the hospital under their approved conditions of service.”
What is apparently making the situation murkier is that, Mr. Ahianyo beside taking the hefty salary is also enjoying his allowances as a sitting Board Member of Korle-Bu.
The Health Ministry was not enthused about the appointment and in a letter dated December 24, 2012 and signed by its Chief Director, Dr. Sylvester Anemana the Ministry described the appointment of Mr. Ahianyo as “a clear case of conflict of interest.”
“Besides being a conflict of interest, were the services of Mr. Ahianyo engaged in accordance with the Procurement Act, 663? Why should the appointment be indefinite if it simply entails an audit of process? And why should conditions of service that go with a permanent appointment, such as duty post accommodation, go with such an appointment”? the Health Ministry queried the Korle-Bu Board adding that “Every Board/Council has approved allowances for Board members and sub-committee work. What you provided in your letter is equivalent to emoluments of a permanent employee.”
“These administrative lapses suggest the administrative support for you and management of the hospital is either weak or is not being used in the day to day administration of the hospital,” opined the Health Ministry.
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