The United States Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Robert P. Jackson, says it is unfortunate that more than two years after fire razed down the Central Medical Stores (CMS) in Tema, government has not had a conclusive report nor punished the perpetrators.
“The fire destroyed more than $80 million worth of medical supplies and drugs, including $7 million in donations provided by the American people.
“This fire, which was ignited to cover up corruption, dealt a significant blow to public health in Ghana. The currencies of the international partnership, trade and aid are at risk unless we stand together, with one voice, and demand that these systemic issues be addressed,” he told a gathering of leaders from civil society organisations (CSOs), businesses, religious bodies and diplomats on Wednesday, August 9 at the opening of the Ghana Good Corporate Governance Initiative round table in Accra.
Vice President Dr Mahamadu Bawumia in April this year assured Ghanaians that government will look into the January 13, 2015 arson but several months after the promise, a final report is yet to be made public.
Dr Bawumia, who was speaking at a town hall meeting to mark 100 days of President Nana Akufo-Addo’s government on Monday, April 17, said: “We have not had a forensic audit after all the request… We will have that forensic audit.”
The suspected arsonist was named as Samuel Dogbe, who used to be a labourer at the CMS.
Subsequently, the government interdicted some 12 officials of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) who were suspected to have played various roles in the fire outbreak at the CMS.
Mr Jackson insists that the lack of transparency and the failure to enforce laws are deterring Americans and other foreigners from investing in Ghana.
“Businesses want to ensure that the money they invest will not go to waste. They want assurances of transparency before they invest, as well as strict enforcement of the Public Procurement Act to end sole-sourcing of contract and the passage of the Right to Information Bill,” he added.
For him, Ghana’s laws must work and corruption curtailed for the country to make strides in development and meaningful cooperation with international entities and governments.
“We would like to see an end to judicial impunity. No one’s interest is served if justice is sold to the highest bidder and those with power, money and influence go unpunished.
“We desire free exchange of information between the government and the international community on combating corruption and so ask the government to establish a single point of contact, someone who is authorised to engage with us specifically on these issues but also empowered to carry out significant change,” he noted.