A senior official in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS) on Monday 11th April 2016 told the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Sierra Leone Parliament that the procurement of over one hundred hard-top ambulances was done in a messy manner.
This view is in subscription to the findings of the Audit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL) for the year 2014 for which the MoHS and other Ministries are been probed by the Committee.
David Banya Permanent Secretary (PS) of the Health Ministry (and other officials) admitted that the finding of the ASSL could be assertive as he joined in the Ministry and discovered that among the several issues registered by the ASSL the procurement of hard-top ambulances had number faltering issues.
One of which was that the procurement minutes of meeting was not signed for the procurement of 153 ambulances.
The PS said; “as we speak 104 ambulances are here and 19 ambulances have been shipped and are expected,” noting that the issue is been seriously looked into for redress.
The PS noted that the contract was reviewed to meet with performance bond highlighting that: “the ambulance contract was messy but we have hope and assurance that they are coming.”
The MoHS Vote Controller also disclosed that plans are on course to commence the National Ambulance Service but stressed that the usage of the ambulances is a key consideration as to why they have parked all of the ambulances at Cockerill.
“We’re keeping them safe, we had support from World Bank in having a Public Private Partnership to better take care of the ambulances.
We have not rushed to put them in operation because we want to sustained and take proper care of them,” Banya said.
Hon. Erick Komba Koedoyoma Acting Chairman PAC said that the ambulances issue has been a national talking-shop adding that they will not want to have a situation in which in times of emergency the ambulance service cannot deliver on its purpose and appreciated the proposed initiative by the Health Ministry to have a National Ambulance Service to quickly respond to emergencies.
“It is good that the thorny issue of ambulance service is being addressed,” the Chairman expressed stating his fear that some part might have been remove where they are parked at the moment which will render the ambulances dysfunctional.
Apparently, another Member of PAC expressed concern on the allocation of the ambulances and the ambulances that are already in hospitals around the country to which the PS said they are looking at possibility to assign an ambulance each to health facilities across the country and to each chiefdom but noted that they are to have consultations with Paramount Chiefs.
Apparently, there were also unresolved issues of errors in the aspect of duty waivers, split of contracts, lack of supporting documents, payment of tuition fees, fuel inconsistencies, assets not properly marked, no inventory register, birth certificates and poor conditions of the general stores.
It was nevertheless resolved by the PAC that certain officials that have been transferred are to return to give prober explanation for the actions they undertook in a matter of days.