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Alex Segbefia Denies Involvement In 'Stinking' Ambulance Deal   
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Former Minister of Health in the erstwhile John Mahama administration, Alex Segbefia, has denied any involvement in a contract to purchase some 30 ambulances estimated at $2.4 million.

“No contract was signed under my tenure . . . and people keep forgetting that I was a Minister for eighteen months . . . no contract was signed under my tenure,” he disclosed.

30 out of 200 ambulances procured by the Ministry of Health in 2016, did not meet specifications, compelling the Ministry to suspend the purchase and distribution of the ambulances to government hospitals.

According to the Minister of Health, Kweku Agyemang Manu, during the transition period, it was noted that the ambulances were supplied but they were not accepted because of the specification deficiencies.

However few months on, the Ministry of Health noted that the ambulances had been paid for.

The Ministry has therefore referred the issue to the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) for investigations.

Speaking in an interview on Citi FM's 'Eyewitness News', Wednesday, Mr Alex Segbefia says he will assist in any investigation because he was not involved in the purchase.

“I have no problem with any investigation . . . I will be happy to assist anyone. I am aware of the issue of the ambulances . . . but in the same vein, one was being careful that we acted in a way which did not put us into the era of another judgment debt if we are to abrogate the contract without going through all the right processes and procedures. My understanding was that the contract was contracted between a company called Big Sea and government and they were to procure 200 ambulances. 30 of those ambulances arrived in the country but they were not fit for purpose and we therefore had to look at a way of ensuring that they become fit for purpose. I sent people from the Ministry of Health to go directly and speak to the suppliers and they gave us particular timetable as to sending down further equipment that were required to make them fit for purpose,” he explained.

According to him, the issue turned into a court case as a result he “had written to the Ministry of Finance at a certain point to indicate that no payment should be made to anyone till that court case was resolved”.

Even though he doesn’t know if payment was subsequently made, “All I can say is that my suspicions (and I stand to be corrected); I say suspicion because payment had nothing to do with the Ministry of Health; the actual payment. My recollection (and I stand to be corrected) is that this was a contract that dealt with a letter of credit between finance and the suppliers. Finance did the transaction and payment was to be made on production of a bill of lading”.

“But there was a clause which stated that before shipment takes place there has to be inspection with approval from the Ministry; that has never been done and to my understanding was never approved. But once the shipment was done, it is possible that payment may have been made . . . the vehicles were not fit for purpose . . . as to what has happened for the past eight months, I cannot tell . . . while the investigation is going on, it is also important to see how quickly putting all politics aside; if there is a shipment at the port which will make these ambulances fit for purpose; let’s get the equipment out of the port, let’s take out the ambulances and let’s deal with what has gone wrong," he urged.

Source: Rebecca Addo Tetteh/Peacefmonline.com

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