The Northern regional branch of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has called on the office of the Vice President to immediately sanction an inquiry into the auction of medical equipment meant for the Tamale Teaching Hospital (TTH) and other hospitals in the Northern region.
According to the NDC, over $400,000 worth of equipment including incubators, dialysis machines and others that were shipped into the country in 2022, were auctioned after efforts to get stakeholders including the Vice President to help clear the equipment failed.
The Zo Simli Naa, Dr Ife Bell, is a development chief from the city of Lewisville, which has a sister city relationship with the Tamale Metropolis.
After shipping medical equipment in 2022 to support hospitals in the Northern region, efforts to clear the items proved futile until they were auctioned in June 2023.
Addressing a press conference in Tamale, the Northern Regional Secretary of the NDC, Mohammed Salam said the Dr. Bawumia had assured the donors of the equipment of a tax waiver but failed to honor his pledge.
“These publications revealed that the medical supplies valued over 400,000 dollars were shipped from the United States of America with the intention of aiding hospitals in the Northern region, particularly the Tamale Teaching Hospital, the Tamale Central Hospital and the West Hospital and other health centers were unlawfully auctioned by the Tema port authorities,“ he said.
Mr Salam said the medical equipment included oxygen tanks, incubators among other machines.
“These medical items including oxygen tanks, dialysis machines and incubators were intended to enhance healthcare services in the Northern region. It is worth noting that these medical suppliers left the United States of America on July 22, and arrived in Ghana in September 2022. However, they were auctioned in June 2023,” he claimed.
The Northern Regional Secretary of the NDC added that the Chief of Zo Simli Naa’s palace engaged key stakeholders including the Vice President, the Northern Regional Minister and the Tamale Metro Chief Executive on how to clear the supplies.
“The NDC’s own investigations revealed that the Northern Regional Minister and the office of the Vice President assured the donors of successfully securing a tax waiver for the clearing of the items,” he told the media.
He urged the Vice President to clear his name if indeed he was innocent of the accusation levelled against him.
Mr Salam said there was a need for an investigation into the matter.
”We call for a thorough investigation by the law enforcement agencies into this medical equipment container auctions as it may deter future donors from contributing medical supplies to under-served hospitals nationwide,” he said.
Mr Salam added that it was unfortunate that despite the tax waiver secured by the Ghana Health Service, the Vice President could not use his influence to ensure the supplies were released.
Mr Salam questioned if the Vice President indeed had empathy for the people and called for the unmasking of the people behind the sale of the equipment.
“We question why doctors could not personally fund the clearance of the container given that the medical equipment was intended to benefit the people of northern Ghana including his own NPP supporters, delegates and sympathisers for whom he has spent colossal sums of money recently in pursuit of the flagbearership of the NPP. It raises concerns about whether the Vice President lacks empathy for his fellow northern people,” he said.
Mr Salam said it was clear that the Vice President’s office is complicit in the under-development of the Northern region.
”Moreover, we demand a thorough investigation to uncover the beneficiaries of the auction. The public must know the faceless people who bought the items,” he noted.
Mr Salam said this comes at a time the Tamale Teaching has no dialysis machine.