General News of Sunday, 17 September 2017
It has emerged that a technical report by Global automobile company, Mercedes Benz, on the 30 vehicles procured by the Mahama-led government in 2014 as ambulances noted that the vehicles are better converted for use as 13-seater mini-buses because they were unsuitable for conversion into ambulances.
According to Information Minister, Mustapha Hamid, Mercedes Benz, detected 18 different defects on all the vehicles and also described the electronic gadgets fitted in the vehicles as dangerous and “of very poor quality”.
After the aforementioned report conducted in 2014, another, dated February 15, 2015, from the National Ambulance Service produced virtually same outcomes.
Speaking on Newsfile, Saturday, Mustapha Hamid revealed that the contract for the procurement did not go through any competitive bidding process as it was single-sourced to one Richard Dzakpa, a former aide of former National Security Coordinator, Joseph Nuno Mensah.
“Richard Dzakpa of [email protected] was just asked to supply these ambulances to the Ministry of Health,” Mustapha Hamid said, adding that the company then contacted a foreign dealer, Big Sea, which made [email protected] its local agent.
He, however, noted that the Mahama administration on August 12, 2014, issued letters of credit for the payment 50% of the cost of the vehicles which amounted to almost 4million Euros, a year before the technical report reached the government, following which government approved the payment of bank charges in excess of GHC806,000.
The 30 ambulances, which formed part of 200 ambulances that were to be procured by the Ministry of Health to boost the healthcare delivery under a contract, cost 2.4 million Euros. Each of the ambulances cost 79,000 euros.
Inusah Fuseini surprised
Former Roads and Highway Minister, Inusah Fuseini has charged the state to retrieve payments made for the letters of credit as he asserts that the President then, John Mahama ordered the “payment should not be effected” because “they were substantially not fit for purpose”.
“This transaction has more questions than answers. But I take consolation from the fact that the Minister of Health has referred the matter to EOCO for investigations.”
Ambulance contract wasn’t signed under my tenure – Alex Segbefia
Former Minister of Health, Alex Segbefia, has said he came to meet the contract already signed by his predecessor for the supply of the ambulances but feared possible judgement debt if the ministry cancelled it. Though the development did not occur under his tenure, he is willing to assist EOCO in its probe, if need be.
“I have no problem with any investigative body, investigating what has occurred with regards to any matter under the Ministry of Health either before or during the tenure under which I am and if I have to assist, I am willing to assist anyone who is part of the investigative team or the investigative body so that is not a major concern to me.
“I welcome the investigations that the Minister wants to embark upon but while the investigations are ongoing, it is also important to see how quickly we can get the equipment out of the port. Let’s kick out the ambulances and let’s deal with what has gone wrong. Let it not be like a situation with the gallopers which were left for years to rust” he said on Eyewitness News.
I’m speechless; this ambulance deal ‘stinks’ – Kweku Baako
Seasoned journalist, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako is shocked over the development saying it stinks.
“I’m almost speechless. This thing stinks. I’m happy that EOCO has been triggered to investigate. Maybe one should be a bit charitable and say, ‘let’s hold our fire and wait for the outcome especially when perhaps, individual reputations may be hurt” he said.