The Akufo Addo administration is set for yet another corruption scandal as checks by Whatsup News in Parliament reveal that the government has refused to present, for scrutiny, financial details of the Agenda 111 project proposed to construct build hospitals and health facilities across the country.
The first possible scandal is the GHC 36 million the government claims it has paid for the architecture and engineering designs of the said 111 hospitals.
Whatsup News is gathering that the amount purported to have been paid to a famous UK-based Ghanaian architect may have been pocketed because the Estate Management Unit of the Ghana Health Service had long ago engaged a consultant who developed a standard modular health facility architecture concept for health facilities in Ghana.
According to Kojo Boateng, a journalist who has some insight into the existing designs, “The brief was for a design that would enable us upgrade the different levels of healthcare facilities as and when needed. It was also to provide the blueprint for our capital investments in healthcare. That modular concept was also to be sustainable.”
Whatsup News gathered that the architectural designs were the ones used to construct the Ga East Hospital and the Shai Osudoku Hospital in Ayikuma.
Indeed, in 2018, the World Health Organisation (WHO) identified the Shai Osudoku District Hospital at Ayikuma as a benchmark for other health facilities in Africa because of the practical architecture and engineering work that went into its design.
The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, said the hospital had set a standard that was worth emulating nationwide and in Africa.
This facility is unique and is setting the standard for the region and I am so impressed about everything here,” she said.
A few days ago, the Minority in Parliament accused the Ken Ofori-Atta-led Finance Ministry of attempting to cover up the disappearance of some Ghc636million that was approved in 2020 for the construction of 88 health facilities across the country.
This amount includes the GHC 36 million that the Akufo Addo administration claims was used for architectural designs.
None of the said 88 hospitals were built in 2020 and yet, Parliament could not trace the whereabouts of the money earmarked for the failed project.
When the Minority raised red flags last week, the Finance Ministry quickly issued a statement in an attempt to debunk speculations that the GHC 636 million have been pocketed.
According to a statement from the Ministry, Thursday,
GH¢600million of the amount received in 2020 was released into the Health Infrastructure Account at Bank of Ghana (BoG) to support the implementation of the District and Regional Hospitals Projects.
“The said amount had been released into the project account at the BoG but not utilized yet. Project commencement has just begun. So far, only GH¢36million has been released as part of pre-construction mobilization,” the statement explained.
But responding, the Minority in a counter-press statement on Wednesday, says that the explanation leaves even more unanswered questions over the money.
“We call on the Auditor General to immediately constitute an Audit team involving the services of a reputable international Audit Firm such as PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC), to immediately Audit the processes leading to the supposed transfer and the expenditure of the 600 million between the Ministry of Finance, the Controller and Accountant General’s Department, the Bank of Ghana, the Ministry of Health and the Office of the Chief of Staff to ascertain the veracity of the claims of the Ministry of Finance,” said the Minority.
Their call was contained in a statement signed by Ranking Member on the Select Committee on Health, Hon Kwabena Mintah Akandoh.
After failing to deliver his promised 88 hospitals in 2020, President Akufo Addo a few days ago launched Agenda 111, which is yet another promise to construct 111 hospitals across Ghana in the next 18 months.
Each of those hospitals are estimated to cost some US$ 17 million, bringing the total investment in the project to almost US$ 2 billion.
There are no guarantees that these health facilities, like the previously failed ones, would be constructed by the government, which has become notorious for its pipe-dream promises.
The track record of not delivering the health facilities in 2020 has fuelled the speculations that Agenda 11 is yet another scheme by the Akufo Addo administration to fleece the coffers of the state for personal gains.