Global automobile company, Mercedes Benz says 30 vehicles procured by the government as ambulances could best be used as 13-seater passenger buses.
Soon after the arrival of the vehicles into the country, a report on a technical examination conducted on the vehicles detected as many as 18 different defects on all the vehicles.
The technical report dated February 10, 2016 advised that the government is better off using the vehicles as 13-seater mini-buses because they were not suitable for conversion into ambulances.
The report by the German automobile company also described the electronic gadgets fitted in the vehicles as dangerous and “of very poor quality”.
Another report dated February 15, 2015 from a similar examination by technical officers from the National Ambulance Service produced virtually same outcomes.
The Information Minister explained that Dzakpa@Business partnered Big Sea to make Dzakpa@Business its local agent. He said Big Sea later shipped the remaining equipment to be fitted in the vehicles but a legal tussle between Big Sea and Dzakpa@Business further stalled the installation process.
Interestingly, however, the government had on August 12, 2014 issued letters of credit for the payment of 50% of the cost of the vehicles, totalling almost €4 million, a year before the technical report reached the government.
The government approved the payment of bank charges in excess of GHȻ806,000.
The non-payment order
Minister for Information, Mustapha Hamid disclosed that the contract for the procurement of the fleet was awarded in 2010 to one Richard Dzakpa, an aide to former National Security Co-ordinator Joseph Nunoo-Mensah.
The contract was awarded without going through a competitive bidding process, he added.
The revelation has provided fresh information for further probe into why the government single sourced the contract to Dzakpa@Business to procure 200 ambulances for the Health Ministry.
A member of the previous administration, Inusah Fuseini was surprised as to how the payments were made because the President then, John Mahama, had ordered the “payment should not be effected” because “they were substantially not fit for purpose”.
Charging the state to retrieve payments made for the letters of credit, the former Roads and Highways Minister conceded that “this transaction has more questions than answers”.