Prof. Ernest Aryeetey steps down from UG hospital board

The $217million University of Ghana Medical Centre has been at the centre of a heated dispute between the Health Ministry and authorities of the school.

His resignation follows misunderstanding between management of the University of Ghana and the government over who should manage the health facility.

A standoff between the Ministry of Health and authorities of the University has meant that use of the facility has stalled for over a year.

The loan for the construction of the facility was secured in 2012 and three years after completion of phase one, the erstwhile administration in 2015 signed a Memorandum of Understanding with UG authorities, stating the ownership of the Centre.

In the agreement, the government is to hand-over management of the facility to the school, consigning the Health Ministry to a supervising role.

But the Medical Centre has been under lock and key since it was commissioned in January 2017 because of the dispute over the ownership.

The health post was registered in the name of Prof Aryeetey and Project Manager Prof Aaron Nii Lante Lawson at the Registrar General’s Department. It has former Deputy Minister Rojo Mettle Nunoo as a member of the Board of Directors.

Prof Aryeetey speaking to the media said the University Council authorised him and Prof Lawson to front for the registration of the hospital since when registering companies, there is the need to provide the names of the directors.

According to a Deputy Minister of Health, Kingsley Aboagye-Gyedu, in an interview on Accra-based Adom FM, checks from the Registrar General's Department indicates that the centre has been registered in the names of these three individuals under the name "University of Ghana Medical Centre".

"It will shock Ghanaians to hear that a limited liability company such as the facility has been registered in the names of Rojo Mettle Nunoo, Prof. Ernest Aryeetey and one Prof. Aaron Nii Lante Lawson in their respective names," he alleged.

But Prof Aryeetey said "I have already stepped down, I stepped down as director a long time ago, last year; of course, I know that my position made a number of people uncomfortable and I’ve already stepped down.

"I didn’t want anybody to have an excuse that because of Ernest Aryeetey, we can’t get this hospital going; I stepped down, nobody compelled me to step down, I did it on my own."

He added: "In fact, as far back as early last year, I wrote to Prof Lawson to say that I was quitting the board; in fact I could see what was coming."

"Look, most of what is playing out today began months ago, and I saw it coming, I didn’t want to be part of it, you think I’m enjoying talking to you on radio about a hospital that should have been functioning? No, I’m not enjoying it.

"When I retired, I thought I was going to sit home quietly, play with my grandchildren and be thinking about what I want to write in my memoirs, I didn’t think I would be spending every day explaining to journalists, explaining to the people of Ghana that I’ve done nothing wrong," he said.

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