2.37 million euros ambulances abandoned

2.37 million euros ambulances abandoned

It has emerged that, the Akufo-Addo government, spent a whopping US$34.691 million on the 307 new ambulances procured and commissioned under the One-Constituency-One-Ambulance initiative, a 2016 manifesto promise by the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Mavis Hawa Koomson, the then Minister for Special Development Initiatives, under whose watch the ambulances were acquired, stated that each of the 307 ambulances commissioned on Tuesday, January 28, 2019, by President Nana Akufo-Addo, was procured at US$133,000, about 40,000 Euros more than what was offered by the Dubai-based supplier to Ghana.

At the time of procurement, the Akufo-Addo government, had abandoned the ambulances procured from Richard Jakpa and his partners, Big Seas, with President Nana Akufo-Addo, leading the chorus in labelling them inferior; a case of giving a dog a bad name and hanging it.

Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, the current minority leader in parliament, and businessman, Richard Jakpa, have been accused of willfully causing financial loss to the republic to the tune of 2.37 million Euros through the purchase of ambulances.

The ambulances, have been left to rust, while the Akufo-Addo government found the US$34.691 million to pay another supplier to fulfill the NPP’s manifesto promise.

It has also been revealed in court that Big Seas, had at one point requested for the ambulances to be shipped back to Dubai and a return of Ghana’s 2.37 million Euros, but the Akufo-Addo government, declined the request, perhaps consumed by its desire to do its own procurement.

Mr Jakpa, is currently on criminal trial together with Minority Leader for causing financial loss to the state to the tune of 2.37 million Euros over the 30 out of the 200 ambulances that he and his partners succeeded in bringing to Ghana at the price of 79,000 Euros.

Mrs Koomson, who is currently the Minister of Fisheries, had on the occasion of the commissioning, revealed that the US$133,000, she paid for each of the ambulances, included all procurement processes and insurance, but the suppliers remain a mystery to date.

The Minister, on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen programme on Wednesday, January 29, 2020, reiterated, “Each of the ambulances cost $133,000 with two years warranty and full premium insurance being handled by a local company.”

The ongoing trial involving Dr Ato Forson and Richard Jakpa over the purchase of 200 ambulances, has been linked to a manifesto pledge, a procurement craze by the Akufo-Addo government, and the perennial practice by Ghanaian politicians to distance themselves from the policies of their predecessors.

Central to this case is the Akufo-Addo government’s decision to reject the ambulances procured by the previous Mahama administration and instead pursue its own procurement initiative, aligning with its 2016 manifesto pledge.

The Akufo-Addo government rejected Jakpa’s 200 ambulances, claiming they were faulty. Despite this, the government proceeded to purchase 307 new ambulances, distributing them to 275 constituencies as part of its “1-Constituency-1-Ambulance” initiative, managed by the National Ambulance Service.

The ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), in its 2016 manifesto, had promised to strengthen the National Ambulance Service and chose not to inherit the ambulances procured by the Mahama administration through Richard Jakpa and his Dubai-based partners, Big Seas.

Irrespective of the cost of Jakpa’s vehicles to the Ghanaian taxpayer, the Akufo-Addo government, shoved them aside and started its own procurement process with Tina Mensah travelling the world in search of the NPP’s ambulances.

Jakpa, who is now the third accused in the ongoing ambulance case trial, disclosed to the Accra High Court where he is being prosecuted that he was told by the former Minister for Health, Kweku Agyeman Manu, that their (NPP) businessmen are going to order their own version of ambulances so that they can make money.

With this in mind, Jakpa said the former Minister said, the NDC businessmen who started the initiative should come and clear their mess.

Interestingly, President Akufo-Addo, while commissioning the 307 new, state-of-the-art ambulances to the National Ambulance Service, in fulfilment of his 2016 campaign pledge, rubbished the procurement that happened under his predecessor.

According to President Akufo-Addo, the 307 ambulances are “fitted with advanced life support equipment and tracking devices, to be distributed to 275 constituencies, i.e., 1-Constituency-1-Ambulance, to be managed by the National Ambulance Service, and the remainder of thirty-two (32) ambulances to the headquarters of the Service.”

Presenting the ambulances at a ceremony at the Independence Square, the President noted that, when he took office in January 2017, the National Ambulance Service had 130 stations, 10 regional control rooms across the country, and only 55 ‘semi-functioning’ ambulances.

“In December 2015, two hundred (200) ambulances were supposedly purchased by the Mahama government, out of which only thirty (30) arrived in the country. As though this was not enough, the thirty (30) were declared “not fit for purpose” because they had cardinal defects and did not come with any medical equipment. This was completely unacceptable, and my government was determined to rectify this unhappy state of affairs,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo continued, “It is appropriate that the National Ambulance Service, established in 2004 under the New Patriotic Party-led government of that outstanding Ghanaian statesman, the 2nd President of the 4th Republic, His Excellency John Agyekum Kufuor, is re-equipped, re-tooled and revamped under another NPP-led government, this time of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.”

The presentation of the 307 ambulances, the President said, means that “as against the scenario whereby one (1) ambulance served approximately five hundred and twenty-four thousand (524,000) people at the end of December 2016, today, we have a much-improved ratio of one ambulance serving approximately eighty-four thousand (84,000) people.”

Additionally, the President revealed that 145 new ambulance stations will be created, bringing the total to 275 stations, ensuring that the country has a 1-Constituency-1-Ambulance Station situation.

“We promised in the 2016 NPP Manifesto to strengthen the National Ambulance Service, and we are doing just that,” he added.

Towards addressing the challenges confronting the Ambulance Service, President Akufo-Addo noted that, firstly, the Ministry of Finance has provided financial clearance for the National Ambulance Service to recruit and train 1,477 emergency medical technicians.

Out of this number, he said that 577 have already been recruited, with the process for recruiting the remaining 900 underway.

Secondly, the President revealed that the National Ambulance Service Bill, which identifies funding sources for the National Ambulance Service, is currently before the Cabinet and will soon be forwarded to Parliament for consideration and enactment after Cabinet approval.

Thirdly, President Akufo-Addo stated that the government has provided a digitised state-of-the-art ambulance dispatch management system, integrated with the national digital property addressing system, whereby all calls to the ambulance service will be routed through a computer system, which will automatically generate the digital address location of the caller to enable the control centre to determine straightaway the nearest ambulance to dispatch.

“It will also allow the ambulance to determine easily the nearest healthcare facility suitable for the emergency. This system will also allow the ambulance, when dispatched, to navigate, without difficulty, using the dispatch system in the ambulance, straight to the location of the caller,” he said.

The President noted also that the dispatch management system will provide interconnectivity among the various ambulance stations and the dispatch centres, as well as the dispatch centres and the receiving health facilities, adding that such a system will enhance the response time of the ambulances, thereby improving patient outcomes.

President Akufo-Addo, told the gathering, the government has succeeded in getting a unique emergency number for all providers of emergency services in the country, with the Police Service, Fire Service, and the National Ambulance Service, all in the past having different emergency numbers.

“I am happy to announce that, thankfully, we have merged all the emergency numbers to one number, which is 112. For any form of emergency, either Police Service, Fire Service, or Ambulance Service, the number to dial on all mobile networks is 112,” he said.

The President appealed to Ghanaians to ensure that this improvement in the provision of emergency services is not abused, adding that “we are told that 90% of calls made to the providers of emergency services are usually prank calls. This is not right, as it only endangers the lives of Ghanaians in need.”

President Akufo-Addo assured that the Government will ensure that the needed infrastructure is provided to the Paramedic and Emergency Care Training School, at Nkenkaasu, to help ensure that it serves its purpose of training paramedics in the country and West Africa, and also serves as a refresher course centre for emergency care training for doctors, nurses, and other paramedics in the country and West Africa.

Filasco News

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