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Ongoing Cases

Central Medical Stores Arson Saga

Author: Multiple (Disclosure by Government Officials at a News Conference)
Date of Exposure / Publication :29 January 2016

Case Summary

On 13th January, 2015, the uninsured Central Medical Stores (CMS) of Ghana was burnt to the ground, with the records and about $80 million worth of medical supplies lost. Two weeks later, a media report citing a CMS Management Committee report revealed that 11 persons were allegedly implicated in looting at the stores. A year later (29th January, 2017), the conclusions of the Committee set up to investigate the incident supported the earlier findings and stated that the CMS was burnt to cover evidence of theft and procurement malpractices.

The Committee relying on investigations made by the National Security stated that a Mr. Samuel Dogbe, a labourer at CMS, was the suspected arsonist who was contracted to commit the act. Mr. Dogbe is currently on the run. It was believed that the imminent detection by EOCO investigators and a stock audit planned for the 13th January, 2015 (the day of the suspected fire outbreak) provided the motive for the arson.

Twelve CMS officers were named by the National Security as being part of the group which allegedly perpetuated fraud and procurement malpractices at the CMS. These persons were:

  1. Peter Ekow Gyimah – Former Head of CMS
  2. Alhaji Yusif Inua – Member of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the CMS
  3. Iddrisu Abdul-Karim – Acting Head of the CMS
  4. Gifty Esi Mankartha – Principal Pharmacist/Warehouse Manager
  5. Zeboat Doh – Warehouse Manager
  6. Ibrahim Laryeah Amartey – Line Warehouse Manager/General Pharmaceuticals Unit
  7. Kwami Foli – Warehouse Manager
  8. Mathias Senaya – Warehouse Manager/General Pharmaceuticals
  9. Victoria Anning – Senior Supply Office/Project Stores
  10. Abdul Karim
  11. James Benjamin Annan – Pharmacist/ Systems Analyst
  12. Peter Atiaba Addah – Storekeeper.

Status of Case

The Government statement on the incident directed:

The Police Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) to prepare prosecution dockets for all named individuals and their accomplices (named and unnamed in the report).

The interdiction of all the named individuals in the report pending the final determination of the matter.

The undertaking of a comprehensive forensic audit by a Special Audit Task Force (under the auspices of the Auditor-General) to reveal the extent to which supplies from the CMS were diverted. According to a media report on 18th April, 2017, the current Minister for Health, Mr. Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, was still yet to undertake this audit.

The Police CID to declare Samuel Dogbe, the suspected arsonist, a "Wanted" Individual and to do everything possible (including seeking the help of Interpol) to arrest him.

The Minister for Health, with the support of experts, to embark on a systematic reorganisation and restructuring of the CMS that takes into account about 11 recommendations (section 4.1 – 4.4) from the investigation report.

The Minister for Health to appropriately sanction three CMS officers (Gifty Esi Mankartha - Principal Pharmacist/Warehouse Manager; Samuelson Tetteh - Head of Security; Harry Okwampah - Line Manager in charge of Information and Communication Technology) who were found culpable for lapses in fire prevention measures at the CMS.

Alhaji Yusif Inua, one of the 12 persons named in the report, has publicly denied any wrongdoing.

Donors (particularly, the American and British governments) continue to call for the completion of the forensic audit and ultimate prosecution of guilty persons.

ELS - Estimated Loss to the State

At the current USD rate of GHS 4.37, the $80 million worth of supplies amounts to GHS 349,600,000.

Opportunity Cost of Corruption

  • 80 kilometres of a two-lane, single carriageway, asphalt-concrete paved road;
  • 200 6-unit classroom blocks;
  • 100 CHPS compounds; and
  • 578 boreholes.
Still left with change of GHS3,750.