The GH¢200,000 alleged fraud at the Volta Regional Hospital, (VRH) has taken an interesting twist with the Regional Director of Health, Dr. Jospeh Nuetey, making wild bribery allegations against the Daily Graphic reporter who first broke the story.
The doctor who said he was disappointed and unhappy about the story and the reporter, Victor Kwawukume, described journalists in the Volta Region as destructive.
He said “I am disappointed, you know… I am beginning to believe the stories people told me before I came to the region. One of them is what I have just told you; that reporters, journalists in this region are so destructive.”
He was however quick to add that, “But I don’t believe that, I have been media friendly… I make a lot of media friends wherever I go.” Dr. Nuetey whose name was not mentioned in the reports of the alleged scandal made the observation when he went on the ‘Morning Rush Show’ hosted by Togbe Ahordo I on US Fm, a private radio station in Ho.
He was there to defend his officers who were alleged to have been involved in the fraud despite the fact the suspects had declined to comment on the matter because it was under investigation.
The Regional Director of Health who is in charge of all health facilities in the region said, “I can vouch for the management of the Volta Regional Hospital that they have not taken a pesewa.” He claimed that the story concerning the alleged GH¢200,000 scandal was orchestrated by disgruntled officials who were sacked for corruption and a staff who had a trademark for sending security personnel on a wild goose chase at the least suspicion.
He warned the person, saying “…at the appropriate time we will send him to go and take care of his father’s ship; he is not fit to be in the regional hospital.”
He claimed that everything the reporter wrote was “untrue” and that “the people of Ho and for that matter the Volta Region should disregard the reportage.” Dr. Nuetey further made wild allegations that the reporter went on to publish the story after the management had refused a GH¢6,000 bribe request to kill the story. He noted that the reporter walked the Administrator, Rejoice Blebu, who is also involved in the scandal, out of his office during the alleged bribery negotiation.
He said, “He demanded for GH¢6,000; can you imagine that? How can a citizen of this region do a thing like that? When the host, Togbe Ahorgo, asked if he was sure it was Victor Kwawukume and why the reporter will ask for such an amount the doctor responded that “it is him; that is the information I have. About three of the management members involved told me that… because he had to give some to his editors; because everybody will take his share.”
He added that “he (the reporter) said the story was going to come on Saturday and between Saturday and Monday people were negotiating for payment. I refused to give the go ahead for that. I will not bribe anybody because nobody has done any wrong.”
In a quick response the reporter called into the programme and noted that he had a recording of all that transpired.
He refuted the claim that he requested for GH¢6,000 to share between him and his editors in Accra to kill the story.
He also clarified that no one visited him in his office. However it was the administrator accompanied by another person who visited him in his house and pleaded that the story be buried since it would damage the image of the hospital and stall attempts at attracting personnel into the region.
He explained that the he walked the administrator out because she referred to journalists as destructive; “why is it that we journalists in the region all that we want to do is to destroy…” More so “the woman’s countenance was totally one of disrespect” so she was walked out leaving behind the man he came with.
It was the man who pleaded and “brought out an envelope of GH¢200 which I refused,” said the reporter.
He added that “everything that happened I have it on tape recording.”