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Ambulance transport fees used as funeral contribution, for buying microwaves – Ablakwa

Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa Okudzeto Ablakwa File photo

Wed, 3 Aug 2022 Source: starrfm.com.gh

The Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Okudzeto Ablakwa, has said  monies collected by the National Ambulance Service as fuel have been channeled to other uses such as funeral donations.

The lawmaker who got wind of the development from the special Performance Audit of the Auditor-General on Fleet Management of the National Ambulance Service submitted to MPs described the situation as “scandalous.”

“The report reveals that a shocking 50% of the payments by citizens as demanded by staff of the National Ambulance Service for fuel are NOT used to purchase fuel; instead, those collections are scandalously diverted for discretionary items such as staff funeral support, buying microwaves, stationery, detergents, cost of photocopies and paying for “motivation of staff,” he stated.

In January this year, there was national outrage when pregnant Augustina Awortwe, who had to be transported from Fijai in Takoradi to the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, following complications after a Caesarean section lost her life due to the unsuccessful struggles of her husband to urgently raise GHS600 demanded by the National Ambulance Service for fuel.

Mr. Ablakwa however stated the payments are illegal quoting Section 33(1) of the National Ambulance Service Act, 2020 (Act 1041) which says: “No person shall take part in, direct or organise the collection or soliciting of money from the public for the purpose of the provision of ambulance services provided by the Service.”

Below is the full statement from the MP

As Ghanaians reflect on the multiple damning reports on the scourge of corruption, we must never forget that corruption kills.

Yes, corruption kills and many precious lives are being lost daily due to corruption.

In January this year, there was national outrage when pregnant Augustina Awortwe, who had to be transported from Fijai in Takoradi to the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, following complications after a Caesarean section lost her life due to the unsuccessful struggles of her husband to urgently raise GHS600 demanded by the National Ambulance Service for fuel.

It has been absolutely heartbreaking reading through a special Performance Audit of the Auditor-General on Fleet Management of the National Ambulance Service submitted to MPs some few days before we recessed.

The report reveals that a shocking 50% of the payments by citizens as demanded by staff of the National Ambulance Service for fuel are NOT used to purchase fuel; instead, those collections are scandalously diverted for discretionary items such as staff funeral support, buying microwaves, stationery, detergents, cost of photocopies and paying for “motivation of staff.” Nothing can be more callous.

The auditors further discovered that management of the National Ambulance Service did not issue receipts for these illegal payments.

The payments being demanded from the general public by the National Ambulance Service are illegal because Section 33(1) of the National Ambulance Service Act, 2020 (Act 1041) provides that: “No person shall take part in, direct or organise the collection or soliciting of money from the public for the purpose of the provision of ambulance services provided by the Service.”

Additional work we have carried out on this mass murder debacle reveals that GOIL is regularly and adequately resourced to provide fuel coupons for the National Ambulance Service.

Documents we have intercepted from the Akufo-Addo Presidency confirm that between January and December 2021, the Presidency paid GOIL an impressive GHS5,174,600.00 in two tranches of GHS3,083,550.00 and GHS2,091,050.00 to supply fuel to the National Ambulance Service for free ambulance services to citizens.

Further analysis will show that the GHS5.17million paid to GOIL in 2021 alone by the Presidency for fuel coupons translates into a handsome GHS18,817 per year for each of Ghana’s 275 Constituencies or a decent allocation of GHS1,568 a month. This should explain why some staff of the National Ambulance Service can afford to unconscionably use 50% of illegal collections from the general public for incredulous items such as “funeral support” and “staff motivation.”

Tragically, because of leadership complicity and paralysis, the rot continues unabated.

This Performance Audit certainly establishes why the current 8th Parliament under Speaker Bagbin deserve plaudits for constituting a special probe into the death of Augustina Awortwe and related matters. We all look forward to their timely and potentially life-saving report.

We owe it to the memory of Madam Augustina Awortwe and the many others to end this canker with incorruptible and decisive leadership.

And let’s not forget, corruption kills.

Source: starrfm.com.gh
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