Prosecute arsonists behind Central Medical Stores fire – US Ambassador tells government

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Sun, 11 Mar 2018 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

US Ambassador to Ghana, Robert P. Jackson is worried that nobody has been prosecuted for the Tema Central Medical Stores (CMS) fire.

According to him, commodities worth about 80 million dollars were lost in flames and the culprits are walking freely although their identities are known.

“I personally have been very troubled that no one has been prosecuted about the Tema Central Medical Stores fire because we saw almost 80 million worth of commodities got into flames, we know who the culprits were; those people should be in jail by now,” he said with disappointments.

The Central Medical Store was razed in 2015 and preliminary investigations blame it on arson. In 2016 however, 12 officials of the Ghana Health Service were accused of playing various roles in the arson and were subsequently interdicted but the status of the case is not yet known.

Before the fire at CMS, there were reports that the then Health Minister Dr. Kwaku Agyeman-Mensah, had initiated investigations into the allegations of corrupt practices at the store.

The former United Kingdom (UK) High Commissioner to Ghana, Jon Benjamin in June 2017 disclosed that the UK Parliament was concerned about the CMS fire because the UK pumped about 4 million Pounds worth of medicines into the Medical store which were later destroyed by the fire, hence the interest of the UK Parliament in the case.

But speaking on GhanaWeb’s ‘21 minutes with KKB’ Mr Jackson said, even though the wheels of justice turn slowly but grind exceedingly fine, he does not think there is rushing in the system.

“Yes cases have to be prepared well but my understanding is that the investigations into the arson which caused the fire were exhaustive, so based on that information I would think it would be possible to develop a case” he explained.

The US Ambassador noted that even though corruption remains a major challenge within the continent, the creation of the office of the Special Prosecutor and the appointment of Martin Amidu is, however, a great progress in fighting corruption in the country.

“We need to now see him prosecute people” he stressed.

The Health Minister under the Akufo-Addo administration on Thursday, November 23, 2017, at a ‘Meet the Press’ series revealed that the Auditor-General is still conducting a forensic audit of activities of the CMS leading to the fire that destroyed the facility.

According to him until the forensic audit is completed, government cannot take further action.

“The CMS fire and investigation report have been submitted to the Auditor-General upon his request. I think we were talking too much about the CMS – where is the report and why are we not responding…? So the Auditor General called for a copy of the report, and as we speak. He is finalizing due processes to conduct a forensic audit of the report, and when that is completed, he will advise and make recommendations and that is what government, I believe, will have no option than to implement” the minister told Journalists.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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