The Public Accounts Committee of Parliament (PAC) has said it had helped to retrieve GHC 61,000 from the Ghana Health Service (GHS), paid to Government through the Ministry of Finance, this week.

Dr James Avedzi Klutse, the Chairman of the Committee and Member of Parliament for Ketu North, said the GES had held on to the money from auction sales it organised years earlier but rushed and paid the money to the bank on Monday.

The payment was made after the Committee had invited the GES to appear before it to respond to infractions noted in the Performance Audit Report of the Auditor General on the Disposal of Government Vehicles by the Ghana Health Service in 2015.

This came to light after officials of the GES had appeared before the PAC on Thursday, led by Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, the Director General.

The team was to have been led by the Health Minister, Mr Kwaku Agyemang Manu, but one of his deputies; Mr Kingsley Aboagye Gyedu, sat in for him.

Some members of the Committee raised an issue of conflict of interest because he (Mr Gyedu) was the Ranking Member of the Committee, and therefore, was directed by the Chairman to recuse himself.

As the Committee quizzed officials of the GES it pointed out that Dr Nsiah-Asare had written a letter of rebuttal to the infractions, seemingly to belittle the work of the Committee. Dr Nsiah- Asare, however, verbally withdrew the letter and proceedings went ahead.

Mr Daniel Yaw Domelevo, the Auditor General, present at the hearing, said the Ghana Health Service failed to respond to the queries within the stipulated 30-day period despite being brought to its attention.

An early response could have engendered discussion to plug the holes on the infractions before they became a subject of public hearing, he said.

The Committee was, therefore, at a loss as to why the GES advertised the auction of its vehicles two days instead of the stipulated 21 days, why the sales benefitted only workers of the Service, and why the vehicles were sold at giveaway prices.

For example, a Mitsubishi ambulance vehicle was sold at GHC 350.00 and an Isuzu Trooper at GHC 2,640.00.

To make matters worse, only 9,500 was paid to the GES with a remaining sum of GHC 34,000 still with the auctioneers; Shelter Mart, eight months after the auction which had still not been paid.

Officials from the GES responded that workers participated in the auction as citizens with the Director General explaining that the action was a form of motivation for staff that had served for a long period.

The Committee learned that the operator of Shelter Mart was receiving herbal treatment at Aflao and would make himself available to it next week.
GNA/www.newsghana.com.gh