Rank corruption permeates all facets of our nation’s civil and public service system. So, in truth, the North-Tongu National Democratic Congress’ Member of Parliament, from the Volta Region, reveals absolutely nothing that is totally unknown about the criminal appropriation of monies extorted by staff and employees of the National Ambulance Service (NAS), in the form of importunate and illegal demands for fuel money to transport patients in emergency medical situations, such as was widely reported in January this year, when Ms. Augustina Awortwe, a newly C-section-delivered mother was needlessly and callously left to die because her husband and their families could not fork up, upfront, the GH₵ 600 unconscionably demanded by ambulance personnel to transport the dying patient from the Fijai Government Hospital, in the twin Western Regional Capital of Sekondi-Takoradi, to the country’s oldest flagship medical center, to wit, the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH), in Ghana’s capital of Accra.
What the cheap political points-scoring Mr. Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa needs to be informing the general Ghanaian public about regards precisely how the National Ambulance Service was run or functioned, or dysfunctioned, for that matter, under the previous National Democratic Congress-sponsored tandem regimes of Presidents John Evans Atta-Mills, late, and John Dramani Mahama. And, in particular, the fact of whether the current level of rank and abject corruption that thoroughly permeates the operational culture and/or protocol of the National Ambulance Service is any worse than what prevailed under the almost seamless, respective watches, of Messrs. Mills and Mahama (See “Ambulance Service Use [sic] Monies Charged to Transport the Sick for ‘Staff Funeral Support, Microwaves, Detergents’; Not Fuel – Ablakwa” Modernghana.com 8/2/22).
At least under the watch of President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, there exists a palpably functioning National Ambulance Service, except that the NAS well appears not to be efficiently administered the way it ought to. You see, under the previous Mills-Mahama regimes, the National Ambulance Service was practically nonexistent. So, what the stentorian and rambunctious likes of the North-Tongu NDC-MP ought to be talking about is how to significantly improve upon the administrative services of the National Ambulance Service, such as the immediate cessation of the criminal extortion of patients in dire need of transportation and their families, typified by the needlessly tragic case of Ms. Augustina Awortwe. Indeed, were he really even half of the patriotic statesman that he would have the rest of the Ghanaian public and citizenry believe that he is, Mr. Ablakwa would also have meticulously catalogued the sort of professional and/or occupational culture that existed at the National Ambulance Service under all the previous National Democratic Congress-sponsored governments in Ghana’s Fourth Republic.
Indeed, even as Mr. Bernard Allotey-Jacobs, the retired Central Regional Chairman of the National Democratic Congress, would readily and eagerly attest, but for the timely accession of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to the Presidency, the National Ambulance Service would effectively have become a veritable graveyard, in much the way that it had existed under 20 years of extortionate and kleptocratic governance by the late Chairman Jeremiah “Jerry” John Rawlings and his Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) junta and, subsequently, the Rawlings-led popularly elected government of the National Democratic Congress. The good news here, though, is that however thoroughgoing corrupt it may be aptly deemed to be, at least under the present Akufo-Addo tenure, there exists a salutary level of transparency the likes of which did not exist under all the four previous regimes of the National Democratic Congress, which makes it easy for shameless propaganda shills like Mr. Ablakwa to access the Auditor-General’s Report vis-à-vis the criminally corrupt culture that appears to be prevalent or reign supreme at the National Ambulance Service.
You see, all the previous four tenures of the National Democratic Congress-sponsored governments abjectly lacked the degree and level of transparency that presently prevails in the country, which is inescapably precisely why the current Akufo-Addo Administration appears to be significantly more corrupt than all the previous six quadrennial tenures of Ghana’s Fourth Republic. The preceding notwithstanding, it goes without saying that Nana Akufo-Addo has a bounden obligation to crack the proverbial whip, if he is to leave behind an enviable and emulative legacy of a morally and socially responsible leadership.
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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
August 2, 2022
E-mail: [email protected]