More details have begun to emerge about the ongoing investigation into the theft scandal at the Tamale Teaching Hospital after the Northern regional State Prosecutor threatened on Monday to subpoena the police investigator for undue delay in prosecuting the suspects.
A report by the Bureau of National Investigations which uncovered the crime said the Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Daniel Akolibilah failed to report to police when management of the facility realized all the expensive equipment meant for an Infectious Disease Treatment Center (IDTC) had been stolen.
In January 2018, a storekeeper by name Kumbeiri Thomas connived with some senior staff of the hospital to steal equipment donated to the hospital by a South Korean government aid agency, Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).
The items include 12 beds, 2 knapsack sprayer, a Flood Flash, 3 semi-automatic autoclaves, a refrigerator, washing machine, dryer, 6 medium and small sterilization drums, 3 overhead table, 5 suncare, trolleys and bed lockers.
They are estimated at the cost of Ghc70, 000 and were stolen before the facility was inaugurated late in December last year.
Days after the facility was inaugurated in December, management found the container wasn’t tampered with but the equipment were missing.
A BNI investigation later found most of the items at a private clinic, Unique Herbal Hospital, belonging to about five staff currently working with the Tamale Teaching Hospital, including one Pathologist, Dr. Mohammad Ibrahim.
Others were found at various private health centres in the city, whose owners have close working contacts to the Teaching Hospital, including KABSAD Scientific Hospital.
The storekeeper and some unnamed senior staff of the hospital were arrested and indicted but delay in ending the investigation for prosecution to begin angered the principal prosecutor at the State Attorney Department to warn the police investigator to forward the docket to his office by Wednesday.
It has, however, emerged that the Tamale Teaching Hospital management tried to conceal the matter until a week later when the BNI got intelligence about the scandal and moved in.
The BNI said in the report that the CEO after receiving briefing about details of the theft, decided not to report to the police, instead attempted to initiate an internal probe into the criminal matter.
There were reports that the CEO also bought the stolen items to his private clinic but the BNI report said it did not find any evidence linking the CEO, though he was part of those under investigation.
Responding to the report, the hospital confirmed the existence of active internal investigation which was commissioned by the CEO but insisted they reported the matter to the security service at the time immediately they established the crime.
The acting Public Relations Officer of the Hospital, Dr. Ken Osei Mensah said it was the hospital’s investigation that led the BNI into the matter and subsequently, the police.
He said the hospital continued with its internal investigation even after the security agencies came in, and revealed that their internal probe had concluded.
“The hospital continued their investigation that gave the lead when we realized it was a criminal matter, we gave the lead to the police,” he said.
“We are looking to see what are some of the administrative procedures that we could put in place as a hospital, as a facility to eschew some of these things from happening in the future.
“There might be elapse in security, there might have been elapse in supervision, some of the things that were not properly done, we want to use this as learning curve to implement some of the recommendations of this committee, so that we can be able to secure the things in the hospital better,” he noted.