Chop Chop At Korle Bu

Eddie Annan and Rev Okpoti Botchway
Staff of Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Ghana’s premier health centre, are up in arms against management of the hospital for allegedly increasing their (management) allowances by a whopping 200 percent.

It comes in the wake of fresh accusations by the staff that the same board members voted for themselves nine luxurious cars which were subsequently purchased, sparking public outcry and intense agitations from the cash-strapped facility.

According to Accra-based Joy FM, the senior staff of the about 90-year-old facility are accusing the board of looting the hospital, having increased their sitting allowances to almost GH¢42,000 per month.

Their allowance would be increased from GH¢500 to GH¢2,000 per sitting and this, the staff thought, was a clear case of mismanagement.

The premier hospital has a 12-member board headed by businessman Eddie Annan, and other members include Rev. Albert Okpoti Botchway (ag. CEO), Victoria Kumah Mintah, Godfred Ahianyo, and Prof. Yao Tettey.

The rest are Prof. Jennifer Welbeck, Prof. Grace Parkins, Dr. Samuel Asiamah, Elizabeth Bruce, E. Anan-Kakabaah, Victoria A. Quaye and Nuru-Deen Mohammed.

The board’s move has sparked agitation among the workers and brought tension to an unprecedented high.

Apart from the expensive luxurious VW Passat cars purchased, the staff is also claiming that although the Acting Chief Executive Officer, Rev. Okpoti Botchway, already has an official vehicle, the board had given the green light for him to buy the latest luxurious Audi A6 for his personal use.

Charles Ofei-Palm, at a staff meeting last Thursday, said the payments demonstrated that Korle Bu’s management lacked a sense of direction.

The Ministry of Health (MoH) subsequently intervened and ordered management of the hospital to return the nine cars purchased for its directors.

Tony Goodman, who is the Public Relations Officer of MoH, said due processes were not followed in procuring the vehicles.

The hospital’s management later revealed that the cars were brought in 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.

Rev. Okpoti Botchway defended the management’s decision to purchase the vehicles, citing the plight of the Finance Director. He claimed his director uses taxi to work because he has no official vehicle.

Mr. Goodman however said checks had revealed that the sector minister, Hani Sherry Ayitey, had not received any letter requesting for the cars.

‘The letter [applying for the cars] did not go through the sector minister. It was addressed to the chairman of hire-purchasing and that is not right.’

He said the ministry 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.

By William Yaw Owusu

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