Five health facilities and a Nursing and Midwifery College in three regions across the country are yet to receive nine VW vehicles they have partly paid for since 2021.
Although the Director General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Patrick Kumah-Aboagye, told The Fourth Estate that the beneficiary institutions had received the vehicles, it has emerged that they’ve rather asked for a refund which is also yet to be paid. The hospital authorities said the refund was because the supplier failed to deliver the cars.
This hire-purchase arrangement required interested facilities to pay an initial deposit of 15% of the total cost of the vehicle and a standing order from their bankers until the entire price of the car is settled.
The failure to deliver the vehicles is contained in the 2022 Auditor-General’s report which tracked the financial record of state agencies across the country.
The Auditor-General said despite fulfilling the payment of 15% of the required initial down payment in 2021, the cars, which are assembled in Ghana, have not been delivered and the monies have been locked up, contributing to the existing mobility challenges of health professionals to provide healthcare delivery.
Ghana Health Service Director General says vehicles delivered
In contrast to the Auditor-General’s report, the Director General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Patrick Kuma Aboagye, told The Fourth Estate on August 2, 2023, that all the hospitals had received the cars.
When The Fourth Estate contacted Dr. Kuma-Aboagye, today, August 3, 2023, on which company was to supply the vehicles, he declined to comment but said “We will respond to the Public Accounts Committee when we get there.”
To clarify the contradictions, The Fourth Estate also spoke to heads of the institutions mentioned in the report.
ACCRA PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL
The immediate past Director of the Accra Psychiatric Hospital, Dr. Pinaman Appau, who supervised the payment, stated that not long after the payment, the hospital was informed that the manufacturer had decided not to continue with the deal.
“We were told that because of inflation, they were no longer supplying the vehicles,” she told The Fourth Estate.
The audit report did not state the total cost of the car that the Accra Psychiatric Hospital was paying for; the hospital, however, made an initial deposit of over GH¢77,000 for the supply of 2 VW vehicles.
“In 2021, the Hospital paid a total amount of GH¢77,060.59 in a hire purchase arrangement into the Ghana Health Service Ecobank Ghana Ltd bank account for the supply of one VW Trendline Amarok Pickup and one VW Teramount SUV. However, the vehicles had still not been delivered to the Hospital.”
The Medical Director of the Achimota Hospital, Dr. Anita Sowah, told The Fourth Estate that the cars are no longer going to be delivered.
“We did not receive any car. We have written for a refund, but we are yet to receive it.”
The report said the Achimota Hospital in Accra made an initial deposit of over GH¢ 66,000 in August 2021 but is yet to take delivery of the VW Teramount SUV.
“Our audit of payment vouchers and vehicles documents disclosed that management paid an initial deposit of GH¢66,831.37 on 30 August 2021 and GH¢10,068.62 monthly standing order on 14 December 2021 into the Ghana Health Service Ecobank Ghana Ltd account in a hire-purchase arrangement for the purchase of one VW Teramount SUV without delivery of the asset.”
SHAI OSUDOKU DISTRICT HOSPITAL
At the Shai Osudoku District Hospital, the story was no different. The Medical Superintendent, Dr. Kennedy Brightson, said, “They [the suppliers] pulled out of the car supply programme, so the Director General informed us to write for a refund for the monies we have paid, and we did that.”
While the agreement said the facilities are to pay a 15% deposit of the cost of the car, the Shai Osudoku District Hospital located at Dodowa, Accra, paid more.
“We noted that Shai Osudoku District Hospital paid a total amount of GH¢157,448.95 into the Ghana Health Service Vehicle Hire Purchase Collection Account representing 26.06% of the total cost of GH¢604,117.20 for one VW Teramont vehicle which had not been delivered.”
SUNYANI MUNICIPAL HOSPITAL
In Sunyani, the Municipal Hospital also made a deposit which is a little above the agreed 15%, according to the Auditor-General’s report.
“Contrary to the above, the Hospital paid a total amount of GH¢68,228.47 into the Ghana Health Service Vehicle Hire purchase collection Account for the purchase of one VW Trendline Amarok Pick-up vehicle which had not been supplied.”
REGIONAL MEDICAL STORES – SUNYANI
The Ahafo Regional Medical stores located in Sunyani, which serves some of the hospitals in the Northern belt, including the referral facility, Holy Family Hospital, paid over GH¢200,000 for four vehicles.
“Our review of expenditure records revealed that between January 2022 and June 2022, management transferred a total amount of GH₵208,175.78 into Ghana Health Service Vehicle Hire Purchase Collection Account for [the]acquisition of four VW Trendline Amarok pickups on hire purchase instalment basis, but the vehicles had not been delivered.”
ASSINMAN NURSING & MIDWIFERY TRAINING COLLEGE
The Assinman Nursing and Midwifery Training College wanted an SUV that cost almost GH¢ 700,000 so it made an initial deposit of almost GH¢ 100,000 for the vehicle by November 30, 2022. A year on, however, the College is yet to take delivery of the vehicle contrary to the agreement, according to the Auditor-General.
“The Management of the College on 16 August 2022 entered into a hire purchase agreement with Ghana Health Service for the supply of VW Teramont SUV vehicle at a cost of GH¢670,948.77 upon a deposit of GH¢66,683.37 into a designated account by 31 August 2022 for the release of the vehicle and thereafter a monthly payment of GH¢10,068.62 until the full amount is paid off.
“We noted that though the College had paid a total amount of GH¢97,037.23 as of 30 November 2022, the vehicle had not been supplied.”
The Fourth Estate could not reach the Sunyani Municipal Hospital, the Regional Central Medical Stores in Sunyani, and the Assinman Nursing and Midwifery Training College for comment.
In all the above cases, the Auditor-General recommended to the management of the institutions that “the Hospital Director should follow up with the Director General, Ghana Health Service for the delivery of the vehicles,” failing which the deposits made should be refunded without further delay.”
VW’s sole distributor in Ghana denies knowledge of the agreement
In November 2021, when some facilities which paid for the first batch had received their vehicles, Dr. Kuma-Aboagye said the GHS had arranged for a vehicle hire purchase scheme for income-generating and self-financing health facilities.
“Under this scheme, health facilities are expected to make payments for vehicles within 60 months under the hire purchase price of GH₵ 325,000 for each vehicle,” he stated.
The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, who handed over the first batch of 49 VW vehicles to the GHS said the automobiles would assist in the delivery of quality healthcare delivery across the country.
“These vehicles will go a long way to augment our transport fleet and ensure that health services are brought to the doorstep of clients, especially in remote communities.”
According to multiple media reports, the minister said in line with the government’s policy to help industrialise the economy, boost employment, encourage investment, and preserve foreign exchange, ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) were directed to source such procurements from locally assembled vehicles.
Meanwhile, Universal Motors Limited, the sole distributor of VW vehicles in Ghana, denied knowledge of the hire purchase agreement with the Ghana Health Service.
The company’s CEO, Subhi Accad, told The Fourth Estate “If there was an agreement for the supply of such vehicles, we would have known.”
Editor’s note: After the publication of this story, the Director General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, called to confirm that the accounts of the various hospitals regarding the vehicles not being supplied were accurate.
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