AMMA Health Direcctor fined GHC71k for diverting World Bank funds
The embattled Health Director of the Asokore Mampong Municipal Health Directorate Joseph Ofori Amoah has been slapped with a GHC71,000 fine for misappropriating World Bank funds meant for A Maternal, Child Health and Nutrition (MCHPS) Program.
He has also been asked to relocate to the headquarters of the Ghana Health Service in the capital Accra to undergo a one month training in public financial management after which his fate will be decided.
The Ghana Health Service launched investigations into the incident after Abusua FM’s Osei Kwadwo broke the news that the Health Directorate had allegedly resorted to unduly deducting monies amounting to some sixty thousand cedis every year from funds transferred by the world bank and its partners to fund this MCHPS project.
Disclosing the sanctions, the Director General of the Ghana Health Service Dr Anthony Nsiah Asare indicated that the report of the investigations indicted Mr Ofori Amoah of financial misappropriation.
He explained that, “We have a final report after sending an audit team to look into the issue. What happened is a misapplication of the funds which were sent to him.”
“The conclusion and recommendations which they brought which the Ghana Health Service has accepted is that he should refund seventy one thousand cedis to the CHPS zones to do the work they are supposed to use the funds for. We will go back to check and report if he has done that because the money is not only from the government of Ghana but it is also a World Bank grant.”
The Asokore Mammpong Municipal Health directorate is scheduled under the MCHPs program to receive quarterly financial transfers of fifty six thousand two hundred cedis (GHc 56,200) to be allocated to six zones under the municipality namely Aboabo, Sawaba, Sepe Dote, Adukrom and Asokore Mampong.
The funds were to be used by the zones for Antenatal care, health outreaches, weighing and immunization of children and growth monitoring services.
Kasapafmonline.com gathers that the program donor’s one of which is the World Bank allows the Health Directorate to retain five thousand seven hundred cedis (GHc 5,700) out of every quarterly allocation to the municipality.
It however turns out that aside this 5,700 cedis, thirty percent (30%) of the amount left to run the program running into some fifteen thousand (GHc15,000) was deducted by the health directorate after every transfer, outside the tenets of the financial allocation.
Sources suggest that the Directorate was retaining 50% until the health staff confronted officers of the municipal directorate who refused to give out the 100% allocation but only reviewed it to 30%.
Out of this figure, the municipal health directorate was also demanding to take a thousand cedis (GHc 1000) for purchasing family planning, vaccination and immunization records registers for the zones.
Some health providers who spoke to Abusua News’ Osei Kwadwo on condition of anonymity disclose that despite all these charges, the Zonal Heads are asked to append their signatures to documents that state that they receive all the hundred percent of the funds allocated for their operations.
Response of the Asokore Mampong Health Directorate
When contacted, the health directorate admitted the thirty percent (30%) deductions it was taking from the MCHP allocations contrary to the provisions laid down by the donors.
The Asokore Mampong Municipal health director Justice Ofori Amoah further admitted that his management team met the zonal heads of the program to discuss what he called a gentleman arrangement” to seed thirty percent of their allocations to the directorate to help them keep afloat to monitor the program.
He also explained that the deductions which amount to some ten thousand cedis per quarter is not the only deductions that they were compelled to deduct to save the municipal health directorates from collapse but it also extended to other donor funded programs including Tuberculosis and Malaria programs.
Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition Improvement Project
The objective of the Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition Improvement Project for Ghana is to improve utilization of community-based health and nutrition services by women of reproductive age, especially pregnant women, and children under the age of 2 years. It forms part of efforts at reducing the high maternal and neonatal mortality rate in Ghana.