A-G surcharges: Former Health Minister ‘fingered’ in GHC66m ‘dubious’ payments

General News of Monday, 7 January 2019

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

2019-01-07

Former Health Minister, Alex Segbefia

A former Health Minister under the erstwhile Mahama government has been identified allegedly as the brain behind some wrongful payment to waste management company owned by Joseph Siaw Agyapong, Zoomlion Ghana.

A memo intercepted by www.ghanaweb.com reveals that former Health Minister, Alex Segbefia ordered then Chief Executive Officer of National Health Insurance Authority, Sylvester Mensah to make the payments.

The leaked memo allegedly signed by Alex Segbefia ordering the ‘dubious’ payment is dated 22nd August 2016 with reference number MOH/OM/16.

The memo titled,’RE- PAYMENT OF OUTSTANDING MANAGEMENT SERVICE FEES ON THE NATIONAL MALARIA CONTROL PROGRAMME (NAMCOP)’ and allegedly signed by Alex Segbefia made reference to an initial letter dated 21st December 2015 with reference number MOH/OM/15 ordering the NHIA CEO to pay an amount of GHC66.45 million to Zoomlion.

Further details contained in the leaked memo reveals that Alex Segbefia allegedly gave authorisation to the NHIA CEO to look for funding outside their budget allocation to fulfil the commitment despite admitting that the institution had exhausted its budget for that purpose.

The NHIA was ordered per the leaked document to raise about GHC28 million from unknown sources to add up to the already secured GHC38.45 million.

Background

The letter was intercepted as part of follow-ups being made after it emerged that Auditor-General has surcharged three former heads of the NHIA and the current head for making wrongful payments to Zoomlion Ghana Limited.

They have been ordered to refund a total of GHCGHC411, 433, 086 following revelations of wrongful payments made to the waste management company during their respective tenures.

Auditor-General Daniel Domelevo has notified all persons involved – Sylvester Mensah, Ras Boateng, Samuel Annor and Nathaniel Otoo – and pointed out specific amounts to be paid by them as a result of financial infractions that were uncovered after an audit of NHIA accounts between the period January 2007 to April 2018.

A former head of the Authority, Sylvester Mensah together with a Director in charge of Finance and Investment of the Authority, Alex Nartey from, June 2009 to May 2015, are said to have supervised the payment of MORE THAN GHC111,401,650 to Zoomlion without following due processes per the audit report

This the report states, is contrary to Regulation 39 of Financial Administration, Regulations L.I. 1802.

The two persons, along with Zoomlion were surcharged an amount of GHC202,013,257 and are to refund a total amount of GHC313,414,907.09.

The NHIA CEO from 2015 to 2017, Nathaniel Otoo, along with Mr Nartey and Zoomlion, has also been asked to refund an amount of GHC66,918,032 after the payment of GHC47,000,000 was made to Zoomlion without due procedure.

Ras Boateng, who was CEO of NHIA from 2007 to 2009 was also surcharged an amount of GHC583,000 along with Zoomlion after payments of GHC5,500,000 were made to the waste management company without recourse to due processes.

The two parties are now to refund a total amount of GHC6,083,000 into the Consolidated Fund within 14 days.

Samuel Annor, who has served as NHIA CEO since March 2017, Francis Owusu, then DCE in charge of Finance & Investment and Zoomlion were ordered to refund an amount of GHC25,017,147.21.

This is after the audit revealed that wrongful payments of GHC21,000,000 were made to the waste management company.

All surcharged parties were directed to make the payments within 14 days of receiving the notice and to produce proof of payment on a Treasury Counterfoil Receipt (TCR), to the Legal Unit of the Ghana Audit Service.

The note from the Auditor General added that if the monies are not paid before the deadline civil proceedings will be commenced to recover the amount from those surcharged.

It is however unclear when the parties involved were served the notices considering that it is dated September 2018 and that the 14-day ultimatum given to each of them should have expired already.

There was also no explanation of the nature of the contract executed by Zoomlion for which these huge sums were paid to them by the NHIA.

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