The Northern Regional Director of Ghana Health Service, Dr. Samuel Quarshie has fled from office to an unknown destination for over a month now, after an armed group, who accused him of unnecessary meddling in the affairs of other staff, threatened him to do so or face forceful ejection.
Worried senior staff of the health service in the region told Ultimate News that the Director has not reported to work since March 20, when youth group who identified themselves as The Kandahar Boys, a vigilante group linked with the ruling NPP, stormed a top management meeting and gave him only 24hrs to gather all his files and vacate the facility.
According to a senior staff, who was part of this meeting and witnessed the attack, the Director was chairing an Entity Tender Committee meeting at the conference room of the services’ building, when the youth interrupted the meeting before asking Dr. Quarshie to leave the facility immediately.
“We were about seven in that meeting; it involved almost all the senior managers in the region and also a representation for the office of the Attorney General. We had a first meeting in the morning and in the afternoon, around 2.30pm about six (6) people entered the directorate on motorbikes and they identified themselves as the Kandahar Boys, and they told us that they had had reports at the outfit that the new director was creating problems at the directorate, in other words what they have heard is that he wasn’t allowing people to do their work, so they have come there to drive him out office,” the senior staff who pleaded anonymity over fears of being a target told Ultimate News.
The staff said the attackers also accused the Director of issuing threats of transfer and blocking promotions of staff and therefore told him to “pack his bag and and leave the region” because they do not “want him in the region.
“It became a very hot argument at the place and some of us stood up to speak but there’re not prepared to listen to anybody,” the staff continued.
“And when they came they had drunk and smoked. You could smell marijuana and they had bags with them which we suspected there were weapons inside”.
The group ended the meeting abruptly and held the director for close to 30 minutes at the conference hall, and later led him to his office to clear his desk, despite pleas by staff of the directorate who poured out from offices in shock to intervene on behalf of their boss, who was being verbally harassed by the mob.
Ultimate News understands the director did not sleep at his residence on the day of the attack and left the region the next day and has since not returned.
The matter was reported to the head of administration at the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) in Tamale and office of Director General of Ghana Health Service at Accra.
The police station which is almost in the same facility with health directorate with only a short wall separating the two agencies, did not respond to the attack even when a report was made to them, according to the sources.
“One of the security went there (police station) in the heat of the attack; when the boys came and they were causing mayhem, but they told the security man that he can’t come and report the issue but rather a senior member of management should rather come and do that, but once we reported the matter to the regional coordinating council, that has the oversight responsibility over every security issue, we didn’t find it prudent to go the police again,” the source stated.
The staff also revealed that, in April, after the Easter break, the Director General who is yet to respond to the report on the attack, summoned the director to a meeting and sanctioned him to proceed on leave after accusing him of deserting his post.
Dr. Samuel Quarshie was therefore forced to handover to a Deputy Director in-charge of Public Health Service, who has remained at the helm of affairs in the region.
The Chief Director at the Regional Coordinating Council, Alhassan Issahaku who received the attack report confirmed the incident and said the matter was discussed the same day at a Regional Executive Security Council meeting and his safety was assured.
According to him, the coordinating council was only aware the director was away from office because of the sanction of leave imposed on him by the Director General not because of the action by the supposed Kandahar Boys.
It is not clear the whereabouts of the Director, who has declined to respond to requests from Starr News for comments.
The Kandahar Boys could not confirm or deny the attack when Ultimate News contacted it secretary, Iddrisu Abdul Hack.
He said an investigation would have to be launched in order to establish the real identity of the attackers, adding that individuals in the group could organize and carry their own operation under the group name but without it knowledge.
The absence of the director according to Ultimate News checks at the regional headquarters of the health service has caused a sharp breakdown of managerial workflow and other directors also see themselves fit to head the regional health sector.
The attack and ensued silence by the security service, the Regional Coordinating council and the lukewarm attitude towards the incident have struck some fears among managers of the directorate, who now feel insecure and have cut down their working hours.