The Auditor-General has cited the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital for charging and taking fees not approved by Parliament

The Auditor-General, Johnson Akuamoah Asiedu, has cited the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital and the LEKMA Hospital, both in Accra, for charging fees not approved by Parliament.

Mr Asiedu said in the 2021 Auditor-General Report that the actions of the two hospitals in the national capital were in contradiction with Regulation 48 of the Public Financial Management Regulations, 2019 (L.I. 2378).

The regulation provides that a Principal Spending Officer responsible for collecting various types of fees and charges shall review annually the administrative efficiency of collection, the accuracy of past estimates and the relevance of rates, fees and charges to current economic conditions and submit a proposal through the minister to Parliament for approval.

Breakdown

In spite of this, the 2021 Auditor-General Report on the audit of ministries, departments and other agencies (MDAs) of central government and the courts for the year ended December 31, 2021, said the two hospitals charged patients maintenance and intramural fees and other service fees that were not part of the list of fees approved for them.

The report said the fees amounted to GH¢35.44 million and were taken between January 2019 and December 2020 “without the approval of Parliament.”

It explained that while Korle-Bu charged GH¢35.34 million as maintenance and intramural fees within the period, LEKMA took GH¢100,000 from the patients as an increase in fees for 32 services rendered without recourse to the law.

Recommendation

The report recommended that the heads of the two hospitals should seek retrospective approval from Parliament for the collection of the fees.

Should they fail to do that, it said, “they should desist from such practices.”

Misapplication

“We noted that between January 2020 to December 2020, the management of the Korle-Bu Hospital disbursed a total amount of GH¢10,165,386.19 from fees collected for the maintenance of the hospital and equipment on employee allowances without approval from the Ministry of Health,” it said.

It said the action was in spite of Section 96 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921), which provided that a person who was responsible for any improper payment of public funds or the payment of money that was not duly verified in line with existing procedures committed an offence and was liable on summary conviction to a term of imprisonment or a fine.

Consequently, it is recommended that the heads of the hospitals should ensure the refund of the amount into the maintenance fees account of the hospital to be used for its intended purposes.

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