Journalist, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako is surprised at the circumstances that led to the procurement of 30 defective ambulances under the Mahama government.
30 out of 200 ambulances estimated at €2.4 million did not meet specifications, compelling the ministry to suspend the purchase and distribution to government hospitals.
Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman Manu, told the media that the Ministry had discovered that state funds were used to illegally pay for the 30 ambulances that were rejected by the National Ambulance Service (NAS) and has therefore, referred the matter to the national security and the Economic and Organised Crime (EOCO) for further investigations, in order to retrieve the said amount, establish who made the payments and to whom it was made.
He further noted that 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.
“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” he announced this when he paid unannounced visits to some health facilities in Accra.
The contract for the procurement, according to Information Minister, Mustapha Hamid, 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.
Abdul Malik Kweku who was alarmed over the deal described it as stinky but took solace from the fact that it has been referred to EOCO for further investigations.
“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 on Newsfile, Saturday.
Meanwhile, 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."