EOCO to probe $2.4m purchase of sub-standard ambulances

The Ministry of Health has referred the undocumented purchase of some 30 ambulances estimated at $2.4 million, under the Mahama administration, to the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) for investigations.

30 out of 200 ambulances procured by the Ministry of Health in 2016, did not meet specifications, compelling the ministry to suspend the purchase and distribution of the ambulances to government hospitals.

The Minister of Health, Kweku Agyemang Manu, said to the media that, during the transition period, it was noted the ambulances were supplied but the ministry did not accept them because of the specification shortcomings.

But a few months on, the Ministry of Health noted that the ambulances had been paid for.

“So I wrote to the Ministry of Finance and they said that they had paid for the Ministry of Health, but the Ministry of Health installation doesn’t show any payment, and we kept on getting information that the ambulances had been paid for.”

The company which was awarded the contract to supply the ambulances, Big Sea, also has no documentation indicating any payment for the ambulances in question, according to Mr. Agyemang Manu.

“At this stage, I don’t I have any option but to refer it to authorities that can do further and better investigations away from the ministry.”

The Minister also said he had directed one of his deputies to crosscheck with the Bank of Ghana to see if the details of the payment could be ascertained.

“The search we have done so far from the Ministry of Finance indicates that these vehicles were not procured from any loan facility arrangement so it was like we paid from the consolidated account and that is where we are… So far as they refused to accept the vehicles, that means nobody should have paid to the vendor or the supplier so we want to find out who they paid the money too.”

Per his assessment of the quality ambulances, Mr. Ageymang Manu said “it was easy to see why they [the ministry] didn’t accept them” as he described the ambulances as “sprinter buses fitted with kitchen panels”

By: Kojo Agyeman/citifmonline.com/Ghana