Return 9 Cars, Korle-Bu Boss Hot

Albert Okpoti Botchway
The Ministry of Health has ordered management of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) to return the nine cars purchased for its directors.

The luxurious cars are at the centre of ongoing agitations at the leading referral health facility in the country.

According to the Public Relations Officer of the Health Ministry, Tony Goodman, due processes were not followed in procuring the vehicles.

The decision by the management and the board to purchase the vehicles has sparked public debate and accusation of misapplying hospital funds.

The cars, VW Passat brand, were bought under a hire-purchase agreement available to individuals and agencies under the Ministry of Health.

Korle Bu is using Internally Generated Funds (IGFs) to buy the cars and is paying GH¢21,000 per month for three years. The unit cost of each car is GH¢82,290.

Charles Nii Kwadey Offei Palm
But the Senior Staff Association of the hospital, in a petition to President John Mahama, accused the board and the management   of misapplication of funds meant for healthcare services.

Acting CEO of the hospital, Rev. Albert Okpoti Botchway, defended management’s decision to purchase the vehicles, citing the plight of the Finance Director.

The acting CEO said his director had had to pick taxis to work and back every day because he has no official vehicle.

The purchase would therefore ‘motivate their directors,’ he told Joy FM Super Morning Show Thursday.

Mr. Goodman said checks had revealed that the Minister of Health, Sherry Ayittey, had not received any letter requesting for the cars.

He told Joy FM ‘the letter [applying for the cars] did not go through the sector was addressed to the chairman of hire-purchasingand that is not right.’

He pointed out that the minister halted the acquisition because using internally generated funds to buy the cars ought to follow a properly laid down procedure.

Alternatively, the directors in need of the vehicles should apply individually for them and ‘pay from their salary,’ Mr Goodman said.

The ministry is also questioning the rationale behind using internally generated funds to buy vehicles when monies the hospital owed the ministry had not been paid.

As at press time yesterday, the cars were yet to be delivered.

Fear Grips Staff
Meanwhile, staff of the hospital are living in fear over attempts by the management to restrain them from exposing the rot within the administration.

This follows the invitation of their leaders yesterday by plain clothed policemen from the Korle Bu Police Station.

They reportedly stormed the hospital in the early hours of yesterday to invite the President of the Senior Staff Association, Charles Nii Kwadey Offei Palm.

‘They wanted to find out from me if we have a meeting today,’ he told DAILY GUIDE.

It came barely 24 hours after the association had petitioned President John Dramani Mahama to cause investigations into the alleged misuse of the hospital’s IGF by the management.

Apparently, the acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Reverend Albert Okpoti Botchway had written to the police to the effect that the workers were going to have a meeting which would create some disturbances and lead to the destruction of public property.

Nii Kwadey Offei Palm told the police that the association was going to hold its usual meeting and that ‘what the Chief Executive had written to them was a pure mischief and a communist style of harassment and intimidation.’

In spite of his explanation that no violence was going to take place at the hospital, the police insisted on taking him away.

Palm was subsequently taken to the Divisional Police Headquarters at Dansoman where he met the divisional commander.

After explaining the situation to the commander, the President of the association said he was allowed to go since they were not doing anything that would breach public peace or anything of the sort.

Interestingly, Board Chairman of the hospital, Eddie Annan, who claims to have been receiving death threats, has refused to lodge an official complaint with the police.

At the time of speaking to DAILY GUIDE, he had just returned from the police station and was going for the staff meeting.

The senior staff of the hospital have, among other things, accused the board and the management of spending more than GH¢1 million on ‘luxury’ vehicles when there were pressing issues such as non-availability of water and other challenges to deal with.

The staff claimed that although Okpoti Botchway already has an official vehicle, the board had given the green light for him to buy the latest Audi A6 car for his personal use.

 By Charles Takyi-Boadu

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