The alleged embezzlement of GH¢576,000 at the Keta Municipal Hospital in the Volta Region by the hospital’s accountant and his assistant took the centre stage of the Public Accounts Committee’s (PAC’s) sitting yesterday with members expressing shock at how internal checks could be so loose as to enable the two people to steal the money.
Hayford Asilenudzi, the accountant and his assistant, Francis Dagbale, allegedly misappropriated the said money from the Internally Generated Fund of the hospital by altering 96 signed cheques between January 2010 and May, 2011 – changing the original figures and words on the already signed cheques by the medical superintendent.
Between that period, the two people were said to have withdrawn that money from the hospital’s account for which payment vouchers were prepared and authorised by the medical superintendent.
The two have already been arrested and put before court but of the amount, they have refunded just GH¢20,000 leaving a whopping GH¢556,000 outstanding.
The committee members were not happy with the attitude of the police and the courts regarding the retrieval of the amount for the state, with the committee chairman, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, saying that a meeting would be scheduled among the Attorney-General’s office, the judicial secretary and committee members on how best the money could be retrieved from the accused persons.
A member of the committee and New MP for Atwima Mponua, Isaac Asiamah, suggested that those people be brought before the committee to answer why they decided to embezzle that huge amount of money.
“Mr chairman, I think in such embezzlement cases, the people involved must be put before the committee for them to be named and shamed,” Mr Asiamah said.
The MP for Bosomtwe, Simon Osei-Mensah, noted that the modus operandi of such people is that they would always come to the superior officers when they know that they (superior officers) are busy at the time and force them to sign cheques without properly scrutinising them.
Transport Officer Resurfaces
In another development, Ebo Hammond, Transport Manager of the Ghana Health Service, who complained of experiencing stomach upset and strangely disappeared from the PAC sitting, resurfaced after almost two hours of absconding, claiming he did not run away.
After taking his seat and briefed by a co-worker, he stood up and gallantly walked to the Director-General of the GHS, Dr. Ebenezer Appiah Denkyira, to inform him of his presence at the meeting.
Five minutes later, he was spotted besides the Minister for Health, Alex Segbefia, with the same information.
Mr. Segbefia, who had earlier pleaded with the PAC to give Mr. Hammond a second chance to appear before it, then sought the indulgence of the Chairman, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, to announce the presence of the transport officer.
The Chairman, after listening to the minister, directed that Mr. Hammond be brought forward to announce his presence to the “whole world.”
He was later granted leave to reappear on Friday, January 22, 2016.
By Thomas Fosu Jnr