The National Ambulance Service (NAS) has revealed that the Government of Ghana through the Health Ministry is buying ambulances from the black market in Dubai for its use with World Bank money.
This follows a desperate attempt by the NAS to dismiss reports and video circulating on social media that an ambulance belonging to the government of Ghana is being sold in a secondhand garage in Dubai.
The Service stated that the ambulance captured in the amateur video is among several 26 ambulances that the Government of Ghana, through the Ministry of Health and with funding from the World Bank, is procuring.
The service stated that the premises where the vehicle was found in Dubai, belongs to the manufacturer of ambulances.
However, it has since been established that the video was taken at SK Motors FZCO in Dubai, and at best, the Toyota Hiace car, appears to be undergoing retrofitting in the UAE to become ambulances.
It is not clear, where the cars were bought from and how they ended up in the Dubai garage. It is not also clear how much the cars were bought and who was awarded the procurement contract and whether the deal went through competitive tender with the World Bank notified that they were going to be procured from Dubai.
But this is not the first time that ambulances meant for the National Ambulance Service, were being linked to Dubai. The criminal case involving Minority Leader, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson’s alleged €2.37 million financial loss to the state, had to do with the purchase of 200 ambulances between 2014 and 2016 from Dubai.
The video from Dubai, appears to have been taken from a secondhand cars dealership in Dubai by two Ghanaians, who were shocked at the sight of the car parked in the desert heat with Ghana’s Coat of arms, as well as the emblem of National Ambulance Service embossed on it.
The garage where second hand vehicles of all kinds are put on sale in the UAE.
Aside Ghana’s coat of arms and the seal of the National Ambulance Service, the car also had “Radiology Specialist Ambulance”, “Ministry of Health” and “Funded by World Bank” captured on it.
But as soon as the video went viral, National Ambulance Service issued a statement on Monday, May 29 to deny the car was being sold in Dubai, saying “Very soon, this ambulance will be shipped to Ghana.
The statement titled, “false claim of Toyota Hiace ambulance belonging to the government of Ghana on sale in Dubai, was signed by Simmons Yussif Kewura, Deputy Director, Public Relations of the National Ambulance Service.
“It has come to the attention of the National Ambulance Service a viral video circulating on social media of an ambulance in Dubai belonging to the Government of Ghana which is purported to be sold in that country.
“We wish to state that the ambulance in question is one of the 26 Toyota Hiace Ambulances being procured by the Government of Ghana through the Ministry of Health and being funded by the World Bank.
“The said ambulance is found on the premises of the Company which is manufacturing the ambulances. It is therefore not true that the ambulance is there for sale.
The manufacturing processes are over and very soon the ambulances will be shipped into Ghana. We therefore entreat the general public to disregard the video in circulation and commentary made by the person who made the video.
“The manufacturing processes are over and very soon the ambulances will be shipped to Ghana. We, therefore, entreat the general public to disregard the video in circulation and the commentary made by the person who made the video.”