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General News of Thursday, 12 October 2017

Source: News Day

EOCO reopens Sylvester Mensah’s NHIA docket

Former National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) Chief Executive, Sylvester Mensah, who is reportedly unfurling his sleeves to contest the flagbearer position of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) may soon be reporting to the State’s anti-graft agency-Economic and Organised Crime Office-to account for his stewardship whilst at the Authority which led to his interdiction in the waning months of former President John Mahama’s administration.

NewsDay intelligence sources revealed that the reasons for the reopening into the case are the facts that the previous administration was not conclusive on the matter which has serious public interest angle, apart from the unprofessional ingredient of initiating on the part of the investigating authorities in hanging the matter, without conclusive determination of the case and a public report.

“Equally,” EOCO sources told this paper that, “the former CEO was offered appointment by the Executive at the Flagstaff House, whilst the situation at the NHIA stagnated and remained shambolic after the interdiction of Mr. Sylvester Mensah as aide to the President.”

Our sources reiterated that in the view of the law, “we will need to establish as a nation whether for personal, cliquish, cronyist or political considerations, somebody did not do the right thing such that a strategic national policy was massively compromised with impunity. “The compromising of a strategic national policy and scheme and landmark safety net scheme, without any excuse clearly calls for investigations and prosecution, if culprits cannot defend it in the law.”

The paper also gathered that the overriding need to reopen the case is based on whether by the inexcusable delays in getting state revenue due the NHIA hit its relevant accounts and coffers to enable it function in line with the diktats by which it was established, some people or groups financially benefitted.

“Assuming the monies transited some extraneous accounts, what purpose did that serve…and did that purpose serve the national and public interest? All these we ought to know and be told…Leaving the case hanging is not the way to go in promoting good governance…”, NewsDay learnt.

As we went to press, reports indicated that one expatriate and another local bank are under investigations for holding monies belonging to the NHIA without policy directive and support, making a strong case for further investigations into the NHIA underfunding saga that blew a whole thriving national safety net programme to chaff.

We were further told that those two banks may be complicit in the movement of NHIA cash to their vaults at a time millions of poor, impoverished Ghanaians were being shortchanged in accessing basic health care and private and public healthcare delivery services starved of capitation funds.

The last time the previous administration promised to put finality to the investigations into the malfunctioning of the NHIA, youth in La, where the former NHIA maternally hailed, threatened a demonstration against the then ruling administration with electoral homicide should it attempt to nail their “incorruptible” darling.

The previous administration has consistently failed to tell the media and public why in the face of ready revenue deducted at source, the monies ridiculously failed to hit NHIA accounts for disbursement to private and public sector partners in the health delivery services to liven up the scheme.

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