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'If Gov't Funded UG Medical Center, Then It Owns It, Simple'

'If Gov't Funded UG Medical Center, Then It Owns It, Simple'

The Health Ministry has insisted it owns the $217m University of Ghana Medical Center because it was funded through government efforts.

The Minister, Kwaku Agyeman Manu has rejected the University of Ghana’s claim of ownership when it played no role in securing a loan facility for the construction which began in 2013 and is yet to be fully completed.

He said on Joy FM Super Morning Show Monday, “I don’t know why we are stretching it this much”.

The University of Ghana Medical Center remains unopened although staff have been recruited. The CEO of the facility, Professor Aaron Lawson said in July 2017, the 650-bed hospital will be opened to the public in October 2017.

It has not and costly equipment is wasting away because of “operational challenges”. The NDC government which lost power in 2016 intended the university to manage the facility.

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Photo: Health minister under the Mahama gov’t Kwaku Agyemang Mensah

Based on this understanding, the University of Ghana formed a private company as a special purpose vehicle charged to oversee the management of the $217m hospital.

It also sought approval from the Health Ministry to recruit personnel some of whom were sent to Israel for specialist training.

But while the university holds on to the MoU as its claim of management, the Health Minister points to three “facts” which he said points to the Ministry as the body that owns the facility.

He said it was the Ministry that led a transaction to put up the facility and also contract the turn-key operator Engineering and Development Consultant ( EDC) which is constructing it.

The Ministry also has a Project Implementation Unit which supervises the construction. It also appointed a project coordinating person.

These three “facts”, he said should clear doubts about the ownership of the hospital.surrounding the project, he explained.

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The Minister also explained the hospital cannot lay claim to a facility that has not been completed. “…the facility has not been completed and handed over by anybody”.

He said President Mahama commissioned the facility for political propaganda purposes when even Phase I was yet to be completed.

Phase II is also yet to start with the government looking for about $50million in extra funding needed to complete the works.

Tracing the beginning of the confusion, Kwaku Agyeman Manu said the Ministry’s Project Implementation Unit has members appointed by the University of Ghana Council.

The appointees were to help the Ministry’s supervision of construction works. But the University of Ghana representatives are claiming the hospital was given to them as a “gift”.

The Minister argued that if it is truly a gift, then the hospital would be under the management of the university.

But this is not the case, he said explaining the University of Ghana has also given over the hospital to private management.

It means, three bodies now claim to own the University of Ghana Medical Center, he said.