The out-going Minister of Health, Dr Kwaku Agyeman-Mensah, has on two occasions snubbed the Government Assurances Committee of Parliament which had invited him to come and respond to why the ministry had not been able to complete projects at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), Tafo Government Hospital and other public health institutions as promised by the government in its 2013 budget.
The minister was invited to the first public hearing of the committee last month but failed to appear; and at the committee’s sitting yesterday he failed to show up.
The government indicated in the 2013 budget statement that it would rehabilitate the children’s block at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, construct a maternity block at the Tafo Government Hospital, an Eye Centre at the Techimantia Polyclinic as well as the construction of Bomaa and Kwatire polyclinics, but the government had not fulfilled those promises. It was for this reason that the minister was summoned by the committee to come and explain the inability of the government to undertake those projects that had been budgeted for.
The committee, upon its inspection, realised that the project at the Tafo Government Hospital was on hold and about $100 million was also needed to complete the children’s block at KATH
When the sitting began, it was the chief director of the ministry, one Sylvester Anemano, who appeared before the committee and explained that the minister was attending an urgent meeting at the Flagstaff House.
The committee members were angry at the snobbish posture of Dr Kwaku Agyeman-Mensah and said it was going to meet behind closed-door and take a drastic action against him.
The chairman of the committee, Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzra, said the minister’s refusal to appear before the committee was an affront on the dignity of Parliament and that the committee would not take his action lightly.
Dr Kwaku Agyeman-Mensah had written a letter to apologise last week Wednesday about his inability to meet them earlier and pleaded with the committee to grant him a hearing yesterday.
Even though Parliament does not sit on Mondays, the committee decided to grant his request. At 10am, members were seated in readiness to receive him but over a period of two hours, the minister was nowhere to be found.
His unexplained absence angered the members who condemned his behaviour one after another.
Even though three officials from the ministry, including the chief director and director of operations, later showed up, they had no knowledge of the whereabouts of their boss.
They could only disclose that the minister arrived in the country on Sunday from an international assignment and was called to a meeting at the Flagstaff House, possibly about the reshuffle.
Dr Agyeman-Mensah has been shifted to the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing in the latest ministerial changes, taking over from Alhaji Collins Dauda, who is moving to the Local Government Ministry.
By Thomas Fosu Jnr
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