General News of Sunday, 13 January 2019
Source: Sefanam Atiase
Fresh information available suggests payments by the National Health Insurance Scheme under the authority of the Ministry of Health to Zoomlion Ghana Limited received parliamentary approval.
This latest information is coming on the back of a report of surcharge issued by the Auditor General on some former Chief Executives of the NHIA and waste management company, Zoomlion Ghana Ltd for what it describes as ‘dubious’ payments.
But the said payments, it is emerging, were given parliamentary approval.
It had earlier been reported that the NHIA allegedly made a payment of GHC66 million to Zoomlion with the authorisation of the Ministry of Health to assist the Ministry to comply with some contractual arrangement with the sanitation company.
The payments had been described as dubious by the Auditor General who surcharged the waste management company, four former Chief Executives of the National Health Insurance Authority and some others to pay up an amount totaling GHC411, 433, 086.
The said figure spans a time frame of payments from January 2007 to April 2018.
However a memo intercepted by Ghana’s largest online news portal www.ghanaweb.com revealed how a former Health Minister under the erstwhile Mahama government, Alex Segbefia ordered the then Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Insurance Authority, Sylvester Mensah to make a chunk of these payments to fulfill a contractual arrangement the Ministry had with the waste management company.
The leaked memo allegedly signed by Alex Segbefia ordering the payments 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 how Alex Segbefia allegedly gave authorisation to the NHIA CEO to look for funding outside their budget allocation to fulfill the commitment despite admitting that the institution had exhausted its budget for that purpose.
Reacting to these claims, Former CEO of the NHIA, Sylvester Mensah has discredited claims by the Auditor General that he made unauthorised payments to the waste management company, Zoomlion.
The NDC flagbearer hopeful has stated categorically that the NHIA never had any contractual relations with Zoomlion, and only paid the company when directed by the Ministry of Health.
“Contracts against these provisions are made between the MoH and the contractor (Zoomlion in this case). Technical supervision on these contracts logically rests with MoH.
“NHIA has no supervisory responsibility for MOH expenditure provision in its allocation formula,” he clarified.
“Besides, all payments for MOH’s contractual obligations for which provision has been made in the NHIA budget is paid against the specific request by the Minister of Health/Ministerial directive on the specific work performed and ascertained by MOH.
“Supervision of work for such payments rests with the MOH and not NHIA. This is why the specific requests are made by the Minister for Health.”
Per the information available, the payment for the contract between Local Government Ministry, Health Ministry and Zoomlion Ghana Limited was given parliamentary approval thus the NHIS as an agency of the Health Ministry could not withhold funds from the Ministry.