Government says the Health Minister erred in his dismissal letter to the director of the National Cardiothoracic Centre (NCC)
Mr. Yieleh Chireh signed a letter dated Thursday 24 August, 2011 in which he asked Prof. Kwabena Frimpong Boateng to, with immediate effect, consider his appointment duly terminated.
The dismissal has been met with scorn and protestations from the medical association with doctors at the Cardio Centre laying down their tools in solidarity with their sacked boss.
The doctors sent a petition to the president requesting that the then status quo be restored.
President John Mills after a thorough meeting with medical officers have resolved that Prof Fimpong Boateng must hand over administrative duties having passed the statutory age of 60 but cannot be stopped from providing his consultancy duties to the NCC.
A statement signed by the deputy Information Minister Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwah said the president will all times respect the rule of law in carrying out his duties as president.
Whilst agreeing with the substance of the dismissal letter signed by Yieleh Chireh, the statement queried the manner and wording of the letter.
“It was pointed out that it is not the intention of the Ministry of Health to prevent Prof. K. Frimpong Boateng from carrying out his professional duties as a surgeon at the NCC and that as a Lecturer in Surgery of the University of Ghana Medical School he is allowed by virtue of being a Professor to be engaged on contract until he attains the age of 70. Prof. K. Frimpong Boateng is therefore entitled to be a Consultant at the NCC just like other Senior Professors who lecture at the UGMS.
“It was agreed that what the letter should have conveyed was the need for Prof. K. Frimpong Boateng now 62 to hand over as the administrative head of the NCC having passed the compulsory retirement age of 60 in conformity with Article 199 of the 1992 Constitution.
“The meeting also acknowledged that Prof. Frimpong Boateng’s appointment in 2000 was 'until further notice' hence was never intended to be a position for the preserve of any one person,” the statement said.
The statement further noted the laws of the country will be upheld, the legendary status of Prof Boateng notwithstanding.
"The President acknowledged that the transition process and the Minister of Health’s letter could have been better and assured all of his continuous commitment to building strong institutions, promoting the rule of law and ensuring quality health care for all citizens."
“Whiles recognizing the important role of Prof. K. Frimpong Boateng in the establishment and growth of the NCC, the president emphasized that it was also imperative that the laws of Ghana are obeyed by all and that he is always minded of his oath to uphold the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.
“The President has subsequently directed that a proper handing over process of the administrative functions of the NCC be carried out within one month beginning from yesterday and that he expects normalcy to return at the NCC,” the statement concluded.