You are here: HomeNews2019 01 08Article 713549

General News of Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Source: citinewsroom.com

I’ve not been surcharged over NHIA payments to Zoomlion – Alex Segbefia

Former Health Minister, Alex Segbefia, says he has not been surcharged by the Auditor-General, over the alleged questionable payments made to waste management firm Zoomlion Ghana Limited, contrary to claims from a section of the media.

“…I want to put on record that I have not received any letter from the Auditor-General in respect of the above subject matter.”

Some former and current Chief Executives of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), have been surcharged the Auditor-General for the refund of over GHc400 million they paid to Zoomlion for services the latter allegedly dispensed to the health sector.

In the report, under the leadership of Sylvester Mensah at the NHIA, an amount of GHc111,401,650 was paid to Zoomlion without following due processes.
But Mr. Mensah said the Health Ministry gave the order for the payments to be made.

A section of the media also reported that Mr. Alex Segbefia, who was once a Health Minister, has been identified as the brain behind some of the payments, citing an alleged leaked memo for the basis of such claim.

But in a statement, Mr. Segbefia said “I want to put on record that I followed laid down procedures during my tenure as the Minister for Health.”

I Have Not Received Any Surcharge Letter From the Auditor-General

My attention has been drawn to a story making the rounds in the circles of the media reported by Ghanaweb on the 7th of January 2019, that I have been surcharged by the Auditor-General for ordering a “dubious payments”.

I want to put on record that I have not received any letter from the Auditor-General in respect of the above subject matter.

In as much as I am not above the law, I want to put on record that I followed lay down procedures during my tenure as the Minister for Health.

I want to use this opportunity to urge the media to cross check their facts before going to press since their publication could damage people’s hard won reputations. I dare say that crosschecking which is one of the cardinal principles of journalism should be respected at all times.

Notwithstanding you will be contacted if any development comes up.

Background

The current head and three former Chief Executive Officer (CEOs) of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) and Zoomlion, have been ordered to refund a total amount of GHc411, 433, 086 following revelations of wrongful payments made to the waste management company during their respective tenures.

The Auditor General believes the over GHc400 million were wrongfully paid to the waste management company hence its resolve to surcharge those who were in the hem of affairs when the payments were made.

In separate letters to the four; Sylvester Mensah, Ras Boateng, Samuel Annor and Nathaniel Otoo, the Auditor General, Daniel Domelevo stated that after an audit into the accounts of the NHIA for the period from January 2007 to April 2018, the financial infractions were noted, prompting the surcharges and ultimatum.

According to the audit, the NHIA, under the tenure of Sylvester Mensah, is said to have made a payment of GHC111,401,650 to Zoomlion.

The payment which was authorized by Mr Mensah and the former DCE in charge of Finance & Investment of the Authority at the time, Alex Nartey from, June 2009 to May 2015, is said to be contrary to Regulation 39 of Financial Administration, Regulations L.I. 1802.

The two persons, along with Zoomlion were surcharged an amount of GHC202,013,257 and are to refund a total amount of GHC313,414,907.09.

The NHIA CEO from 2015 to 2017, Nathaniel Otoo, along with Mr Nartey and Zoomlion, has also been asked to refund an amount of GHC66,918,032 after the payment of GHC47,000,000 was made to Zoomlion without due procedure.

Ras Boateng, who was CEO of NHIA from 2007 to 2009 was also surcharged an amount of GHC583,000 along with Zoomlion after payments of GHC5,500,000 were made to the waste management company without recourse to due processes.

The two parties are now to refund a total amount of GHC6,083,000 into the Consolidated Fund within 14 days.

Samuel Annor, who has served as NHIA CEO since March 2017, Francis Owusu, then DCE in charge of Finance & Investment and Zoomlion were ordered to refund an amount of GHC25,017,147.21.

This is after the audit revealed that wrongful payments of GHC21,000,000 were made to the waste management company.

All surcharged parties were directed to make the payments within 14 days of receiving the notice and to produce proof of payment on a Treasury Counterfoil Receipt (TCR), to the Legal Unit of the Ghana Audit Service.

The note from the Auditor General added that if the monies are not paid before the deadline civil proceedings will be commenced to recover the amount from those surcharged.

Health Ministry responsible for over 400m payments to Zoomlion, not NHIA – Sly

Former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Sylvester Mensah, has denied assertions that the Authority under his tenure made payments to waste management company, Zoomlion without following due processes.

According to him, all payments made by the Authority are authorised by the Ministry of Health, which also supervises the release of the monies to the recipients.

“All payments for MOH’s contractual obligations for which provision has been made in the NHIA budget is paid against specific request by the Minister of Health/Ministerial directive on the specific work performed and ascertained by MOH.”

“Supervision of work for such payments rests with the MOH and not NHIA. This is why the specific requests are made by the Minister for Health.”

‘We did nothing wrong receiving NHIA payments for work done’ – Zoomlion

But Zoomlion Ghana Limited, says it did nothing wrong in receiving monies from the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) for services it provided to the Authority.

The company in a statement insisted that: “without preempting the ruling of the court in the appeal, the Management of Zoomlion Ghana Limited wishes to assure the public that, the company believes it has done nothing wrong.”

“Zoomlion’s contracts in the areas of disinfestation as a preventive health measure with the Ministries of Health have all been duly executed and duly paid for,” the statement added.

In an earlier interview with Citi News, Director of Communications and Corporate Affairs at Zoomlion, Emma Akyea-Boakye said they are already in court over the matter.

“Yes we have knowledge of that report. We have read through it, we appreciate what is in there but we disagree with the decision of the statement. And so for further actions we have appealed to the court and we are waiting for the court to decide. And so we will wait until the court decides,” Emma Akyea-Boakye added.