General News of 2014-03-14

Minority vows to halt â??fraudulentâ?? $306m Ridge Hospital project

The Minority in Parliament says Ghana will lose $85 million dollars if a commercial agreement between the Government and Bouygues Bartiment International to expand the Ridge Hospital in Accra for $306 million goes ahead. Parliament in February approved the agreement, clearing the way for the design, construction, procurement and installation of equipment for the rehabilitation of the hospital to go ahead.
The deal was first sanctioned by the Parliamentary Sub-committee on Health before being approved by the House.
However, the Minority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu on Thursday suggested on the Floor of Parliament that the deal was approved on the blind side of the minority.
He said he had been away with the Majority Leader, Mr Benjamin Kunbour, in South Africa when the deal was approved.
Consequently he told the Speaker, Mr Edward Doe Adjaho, that the agreement will have to be brought to the house for re-vetting.
The MP stressed the deal was inimical to the national interest and must not be allowed to proceed.
In a subsequent interview with Accra-based Joy FM, the Minority Leader claimed even government advisers had indicated that the Ridge hospital project could be done for less than half the agreed amount.
He cautioned President John Mahama not to allow the project to go through, saying the deal “is the worst I’ve seen in Parliament”.
Mr Mensah-Bonsu emphasised that a deal that will cause the country to lose $85 million was fraudulent and “untenable”.
The project is being funded by the Exim Bank and HSBC Bank of the United States of America.
As part of the refurbishment, Ridge Hospital will be expanded from a 200- to 420-bed capacity hospital, while departments such as Imaging, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Accident and Emergency, Neonatal Intensive Care, Burns, Pharmacy and Laboratory, will be expanded.