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Covid-19: Health personnel taking bribes to skip testing at airport – Frances Asiam alleges

She wants Parliament to investigation the operation of the company

A communication team member of the governing New Patriotic Party, Mrs. Frances Asiam, has accused some health personnel at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) of influencing the Covid-19 testing by taking bribes from arriving passengers to skip the process.

Frances Ewurabena Asiam who was speaking on Metro TV’s Good Morning Ghana on Monday, alleged the health workers who are not with the company administering the antigen test at KIA take money from the arriving passengers and help them escape the testing process.

According to the CEO of Ghana Cylinder Manufacturing Company Limited (GCMCL), this disservice has brought about the surge in the novel coronavirus cases in the country in recent weeks.

“We have a problem here; a company has been contracted to do the job. It is doing it job. You have personnel who do not belong to the company. [They] work there (airport) and with the allegations of people taking GHS300 [and] letting people pass through; I mean without the testing. Look at the allegations we’d of some even some testing labs calling people you tested positive; you tested negative because the person is eager to travel. That is why multifaceted approach,” she told Annie Efua Ampofo on the Good Morning Ghana show on Monday, 15 February 2021.

She said there is a need for Parliament to launch investigations into the operations of the company administering the antigen test at the airport and take necessary actions against them.

“There is security issues involve here. I believe that if a company is contracted to do a job and there are issues with the job they must be made to account and take them on. This is no partisan issue. They should be taken on because we have the parliamentary select committees wherever they are who can summon everybody before them to explain. The security people are there they can look at it: The Ministry of Health is there. Ghana Health Service they cannot know to look at it, so, it is us us citizens; we raise the issues.

In her view, “And I believe that with those taking the bribes. I’m talking allegedly. I have not seen it and letting people in. So, you realize that this UK [COVID-19] variant and South Africa these two places because Brazilian doesn’t come here that much. It is the correct attitude and mentality of we have as people which is endemic and I hope it doesn’t become pandemic like Covid which is also creating problems.”

Ms Asiam further added “When someone gets to the airport you take GHS300 and look at the cost of going through this thing. Even the pain, the depth and you come and affect people so I say who are those working there. Are there enough surveillance cameras, do they have people in the lead, You know when the juniors are doing there must be somebody up there where they’ll bench those allegedly GHS300 or whatever and so at the end of the day If you can’t pay portion you must not go and sit there.”

“So, we believe there must be critical investigation. The Ministry of Health or Ghana Health Service into the activities going on at Kotoka International Airport and we call on the security agencies, Parliament also to investigate the efficacy; the efficiency of the company at the airport. If it is good for Ghana; we continue. If it is not good; any decision can be taken,” she asserted.

President Nana Akufo-Addo in his update on the Ghana’s enhanced response to combat the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) on Sunday, 30 August 2020, outlined measures to ease some of the earlier restrictions.1

Amongst the measures announced by the president, which took effect on Tuesday, 1 September 2020, is the reopening of Kotoka International Airport to passengers.  The country’s borders by land and sea on the other hand remain closed to human traffic until further notice.

The President also announced that some stringent measures that have been put in place at the airport to prevent the importation of new Coronavirus cases which may lead to a resurgence of the disease in the country.

The measures which he said had been communicated to airlines who want to resume flights to the country include a requirement for every passenger to possess proof of a negative PCR Coronavirus test from an accredited laboratory on arrival at the KIA.

The measures also require all disembarking passengers to wear face masks and undergo a mandatory $150 COVID-19 test upon disembarking flights at the Terminal.

The President disclosed that the cost of the test would be borne by the passenger and the test results would be available within thirty minutes. However, children aged five years and below are not required to undergo testing at the airport.

However, last month, the President instructed that the price of Covid-19 test at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) be reduced to $150 instead of the previous $150.

By: Bernard Ralph Adams

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