Opinions of Thursday, 19 January 2017
Columnist: Tsikata, Prosper Yao
PRESS STATEMENT FROM THE FOUR GOVERNMENT APPOINTEES ON THE ERSTWHILE BOARD OF KORLE BU TEACHING HOSPITAL (KBTH).
Re: UNAUTHORISED PAYMENT OF GHC 153,000 TO THE CEO AND 8 DIRECTORS OF KORLE BU TEACHING HOSPITAL (KBTH)
The attention of the four Government Appointees on the erstwhile KBTH Board has been drawn to a story making the headlines to the effect that over GHC 100,000 had been paid to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr. Gilbert Buckle and EIGHT (8) Directors of the hospital as end of year bonus.
We wish to place on record that the Board approved only GHC100 per employee of KBTH for End of year party and Awards Night as part of Employee Recognition program and a motivation strategy. It must be reiterated that Management never submitted to the Board any proposals for the payment of bonus to the staff including the Directors and management for the two years tenure of the dissolved Board because KBTH does not operate any bonus scheme as a result of its precarious financial situation.
It therefore came as a shock to the four Government Appointees that a colossal amount of over GHC100,000 had been paid to only nine Directors, six of them Executive Directors on the Board and very much aware that such a proposal should have come to the Board for consideration at the last meeting of the Board held on January 4, 2017.
It is instructive to note that the recently dissolved Board assumed the leadership of KBTH at a time the institution was in turmoil and dire financial straits. The Board during its tenure and over the last two years worked strenuously even as it was confronted with monumental challenges from within in its efforts to solve the myriad problems facing the country’s Premier Referral Hospital.
Our preoccupation was to get KBTH to work and transform Korle Bu to the Centre of Excellence that it is meant to be. The Board’s resolve resulted in the establishment of the Korle Bu Trust Fund in 2016 to mobilize some financial resources to invest in physical structures, equipment and general facilities that Korle Bu urgently needs to deliver an improved patient care that was the vision of the Board.
The Board took some strategic initiatives to revamp the dysfunctional financial system aimed at plugging all the financial leakages that had plagued the hospital over the years resulting in lack of consumables, inadequate equipment, malfunctioning of others and total lack of others.
The focus of the Board was to instill fiscal discipline in the management of KBTH finances and that revenues collected should be efficiently utilized especially on patient care.
The Board during its tenure implemented some key strategic initiatives to improve revenue collection in an institution which was not change-ready. The following were accomplished:
Cash point billing and collection of revenue by two Banks instead of one bank to improve efficiency in revenue collection.
Phasing out of the collection of unapproved fees into unauthorized departmental accounts to leverage revenue collection
3. The Board as part of the fiscal discipline measures decided on the following:
No travel by the Board outside Accra to conduct Board Business
No international travel by any non-Executive Board members during the 2 years tenure.
The Board to incentivize staff introduced free Medical care to staff and four dependants in March 2016 and approved Employee Provident Fund to be rolled out in March, 2017.
Huge financial resources would be required to sustain these staff welfare benefits and for nine Directors of KBTH to dole out GHC 153,000 to pay themselves an allowance of GHC21,00O to the Chief Executive, Dr. Gilbert Buckle and GHC17,000 each to 7 other Directors and GHC 13,000 to Head of Internal Audit, at the expense of a workforce of close to four thousand employees who toil to generate the internal revenue and at the blind side of the Board lacks equity, fairness, and transparency .Ethical behaviour and best practice corporate governance posit that Directors of a public sector institution do not have the capacity to determine their own compensation and pay without recourse to its Board as such the payment of the so called allowance to themselves is a flagrant violation of these principles and practices.
In as much the four Government appointees on the erstwhile Board disassociate themselves from the unauthorised payout to the CEO and nine Directors, the good people of Ghana, who constitute the shareholders of KBTH, we believe, need answers to the following questions:
Who authorized the payment to the CEO, Dr. Buckle and the other eight Directors who are all non –clinical staff?
What criteria was used to determine the nine beneficiaries out of approximately 4000 workforce of KBTH?
Why no payments were effected during the two years tenure of the erstwhile Board and payment was effected at the time the Board was exiting?
Whether in the name of good conscience, equity and fair play they have been fair to Mother Ghana and the clinical staff who work under strenuous conditions to save lives and make money for KBTH for the CEO and other eight Directors to spend on themselves instead of patient care which is the core business of KBTH?
In conclusion, we, the four Government appointees on the erstwhile Board, are convinced that the conduct of the CEO and the eight Directors amount to exercise of bad judgment and insensitivity to the citizens of Ghana and the 4000 workforce and current and future patients of KBTH.
The beneficiaries who constitute the leadership and management of KBTH by exercising this bad judgment have lost all the moral authority to provide the transformational leadership KBTH is in dire need of to sustain the reforms the erstwhile Board initiated. If decisive and prompt action is not taken KBTH will drift back into the near ungovernable state the immediate past Board was confronted with when it assumed duty in September 2014.
Prof Anthony Mawuli Sallar (Past Board Chairman)
Other Past Government Appointees Mr. Henry Atta Paidoo.
Hon Kempes Ofosu Ware. Mrs Perpetua Kafui Annan.
ISSUED on Wednesday 18th January 2017.