It has emerged that ex President John Mahama while in office directed the Ministry of Finance not to pay for the delivery of 30 defective ambulances purchased in 2014.
National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for Tamale Central, Inusah Fuseini who made the disclosure said the then government noticed the Benz Sprinter vehicles were not fit for the purpose.
Information Minister, Mustapha Hamid revealed on Joy FM’s News File show that the Mahama administration awarded the contract to a one Richard Dzakpa, a former aide of former National Security Coordinator, Joseph Nuno Mensah in 2010 without going through any competitive bidding process.
“Richard Dzakpa of [email protected], was just asked to supply these ambulances to the Ministry of Health,” Mustapha Hamid said.
He continued that the company then contacted a foreign dealer, Big Sea, which made [email protected] its local agent.
Mustapha Hamid further stated that, not long after the vehicle were shipped to Ghana, the Executive Director of the National Ambulance Service, Prof. Zakaria led a team to conduct examination of the vehicles following which it was identified that the vehicles were not fit for purpose.
He added that the Ministry of Health then caused local car dealer, Auto Parts to contact car manufacturing giant, Mercedes Benz, to enquire if the vehicles could be updated and used as ambulances, detected as many as 18 different defects on all the vehicles.
The automobile company, advised government that the vehicles could better be converted for use as 13-seater mini-buses because they were not suitable for conversion into ambulances.
The report further described the electronic gadgets fitted in the vehicles as dangerous and are of very poor quality.
Mustpha Hamid disclosed that eventhough, Big Sea later shipped the remaining equipment to be fitted in the vehicles, a legal tussle between Big Sea and [email protected] has made that impossible as the former has decided not to release the bill of laden.
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 GHȻ806,000.
But Inusah Fuseini who was a Minister under the Mahama administration questioned why the payments were made when then President John Mahama at a cabinet meeting after the matter came to his attention had directed that the payment should not be effected.
Former Health Minister, Alex Segbefia who succeeded Benjamin Kumbuor during the Mahama regime had earlier indicated that he could not cancel the deal becuase he feared causing judgement debt.
But Hon. Inusah Fuseini insisted that his colleague’s fear was unfounded as he could have solicited the advice of the Attorney-General” when he found himself in a fix.