Pharmacy Department Head Faces Query
The Herald’s ongoing investigation into the rot at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital continue to unearth lots of interesting revelations, with the latest being that the Pharmacy Department of the state-owned hospital, operates like an island on its own, defying almost all management directives.
Procurement of medicines and other consumables by the Pharmacy Department, headed by Elizabeth Bruce, is said to have flouted the laid down procedures, leading to massive corruption, with multi-million contracts in both local Cedi and United States Dollars, given out to people with fraudulent documents.
It is believed that the ongoing changes, will help the nation’s biggest hospital to rake in over GHC40 million annually.
For instance, GH¢ 5,219,899.34, worth of medicines was procured without involving the hospital tender committee.
In another instance, a GH¢727, 203.80, received from various suppliers as refund was not on the ledger sheet and tally card, therefore could not be traced.
Also, GH¢ 130,574.90, went unaccounted for, although it was claimed to have been used for cash refunds for customers.
Stephen Ayeh Perdison , a Chief Internal Auditor, has been appointed at Korle-Bu. In his Interim Audit Report, the Director of Pharmacy, Mrs. Bruce is being asked to respond to the questionable procurements, as well as the missing cash.
This was after the Korle-Bu Board, led by Eddie Annan, decided that all departments be streamlined to allow for greater efficiency and to eliminate corrupt practices.
All the departments, were said to have accepted and are implementing the new measures apart from the Director of Pharmacy, Mrs. Bruce.
It came to light that companies were winning supply contracts with invalid tax clearance certificates or in some instances with expired certificates.
It was also discovered that pages, had been removed from the bound Requisition books, most of the essential medicines are out of stock for eight months and there were no reconciliation between detail daily transactions and total daily cash sales.
Additionally, unauthorized staff, were being used in cash collection at 24 hour pharmacy to the surprise of many, and there are suspicions that some of these monies, were ending up in the pockets of private individuals.
Sources close to both the Board and the management told The Herald that the Pharmacy Department, has been the biggest challenge of the new management of Korle-Bu as it operates “…more or less an island of its own, defying almost all management directives”.
“This year instead of submitting their procurement plan by December 2013, the plan was submitted to management as late as April 2014. As a result, Korle Bu’s operations were seriously affected by all repercussions of the foreign exchange fluctuation and the new foreign currency policy of Bank of Ghana (BoG)”.
Suppliers, who won tenders decided not to supply, demanding 50 per cent-100 per cent increase in prices. They refused to supply even at an increase of 20 per cent across board for all medicines. Management was compelled to purchase some of the urgent medication outside the procurement process.
Management decided to deal with the manufacturers directly for the supply of medicines. This, they were more than willing to supply.
The hospital, was offered a special packages, including maintaining the old prices of 2013 with a further discount of between 25 per cent – 40 per cent irrespective of the volume, a six-month credit facility for all purchases by Korle Bu.
The manufacturers, are also fixing the exchange rate from the beginning of the contract and not subject to exchange rate fluctuations and they will also supply all their items through their accredited agents and pay them fixed fees for clearing at the port and distribute to the premises of Korle Bu.
“The import and significance of this arrangement is that Korle Bu is going to make savings of 30% – 40%, an equivalent of about GH¢ 15 million, from medicines alone. If this is extended to all consumables and purchases at Korle-Bu, Korle-Bu is likely to make savings of about GH¢ 40 million”, The Herald learnt.
This will go a long way to position Korle-Bu in line with Government’s new policy of weaning Korle-Bu off Government payroll.
In the interim, the Director of Pharmacy, was asked to return the cheque books to the Director of Finance. She has quickly gotten her pharmacy group together to threaten to go on strike in 72 hours, if the cheque books are not returned or the decision is not reversed.
It was explained that it was not in the interest of Korle-Bu for the Pharmacy Department to continue to be run the way she has run it.
Mrs. Bruce is said, to determine what suppliers’ cheques should be issued and signed. Anyone in her department who breathes a word is ‘dealt with’.
She is also said to have sent a text message to Eddie Annan saying, she would ensure that the Acting CEO, Okpoti Botwe, does not continue his stay at Korle-Bu.
Her contract is said to have expired two years ago, but she continued at her post, despite the fact that the Board had not renewed her contract, this it is said is an obvious slip on the part of the former Board.
Her contract says before renewal, her work should be appraised. The Eddie Annan Board, is said to summoned an emergency meeting this week, with the intension of appraising her work; ratify the two extra years she put in; and refuse a further extension of her contract if need be.
More to come!