Owner of “Obengfo” hospital files court action to compel HeFRA to restore operational licence

Dr Dominic Obeng Andoh, has instituted a court action at the High Court, praying the court to compel HeFRA to renew its operational license

Is allowance instantly strangers applauded

Owner of Obengfo Hospital, Dr Dominic Obeng Andoh, is praying the high court to compel HeFRA to renew his operational license.

The owner of the beleaguered medical facility, Obengfo Hospital, Dr Dominic Obeng Andoh, has instituted a court action at the High Court, praying the court to compel the Health Facilities and Regulatory Agency (HeFRA) to renew its operational license to allow him to resume his medical practice.

HeFRA on the 29th of January 2021, shut down Obengfo Hospital, located at Weija in Accra and known for its “Advanced Body Sculpt” services, for operating without the requisite license. A team, led by the Registrar of HeFRA, Dr Philip Bannor explained that the closure of Obengfo Hospital was part of an enforcement exercise being conducted by the agency.

HeFRA justified the shutdown indicating that the Health Institutions and Facilities Act 2011, (Act 829) which established the HeFRA, empowers it to shut down any health facility which is not licensed by it or does not meet standards established by Act 829.

Obenfo’s Contention

In his affidavits in support of his application filed by his lawyer, Emmanuel Maurice Ankrah, the Obengfo Hospital owner, Dr Dominic Obeng Andoh, contends that there is presently no reasonable justification for the HeFRA’s continuous refusal to renew his license because he has fulfilled all laid down requirements. The continuous closure of his facility, Dr. Obeng Andoh states, is causing him to lose revenue whereas he continues to pay the salaries of his employees.

“I am advised by Counsel and verily believe same to be true, it will be in the interest of justice and fairness for this honourable court to grant my application. That in the circumstance, I pray for an Order of Mandamus to compel HeFRA (Respondent) to include my name on the list of registered medical and dental practitioners in Ghana,” the affidavit in support stated.

In his statement of case, Dr Dominic Obeng Andoh, further argued in the concluding part that HeFRA “acted capriciously and unreasonably by entering the facility of the Obengfo Hospital with armed Police men and more than 50 journalists while patients were undergoing treatment and knowing very well the efforts he had been making since 2013 to renew his license.”

HeFRA Opposition

In their affidavit in opposition to the claims by the owner of the Obenfo Hospital, HeFRA through its Head of Administration, Dr David K. Kwamifoli, (the Deponent), noted that the exercise undertaken to close the Obengfo Hospital was carried out in accordance with the law and involved many other such facilities that have not been duly licensed to operate by HeFRA.

“The 1st Applicant (Obengfo Hospital), was part of the exercise because it persistently refused to progress with the licensing process and yet continued to operate illegally,” the affidavit in opposition stated.

According to HeFRA, Section 12(2) of Act 829 stipulates ten (10) mandatory conditions precedents (requirements) that health sector operators must fulfil before their application for a license to operate a health facility can be considered by HeFRA.

The HeFRA affidavit further states, “Obengfo Hospital failed to satisfy the condition of Section 12(2)(e) and this has been abundantly conveyed to the 2nd Applicant (Dr. Dominic Obeng Andoh) to satisfy, who has failed, refused or simply neglected to meet this condition. HeFRA cannot lawfully proceed to issue a license without the Applicants’ satisfaction of this condition precedent.”

“Even after full satisfaction of the conditions precedent stipulated in Section 12(2) of Act 829, the law places a discretionary duty on the Respondent (HeFRA) to exercise discretion as to whether to grant or refuse the issuance of a license especially under Section 12(3)(b) and (d). That I am advised and verily believe the same to be true that, the Respondent Agency is acting within the confines of its statutory mandate. That licensing of facilities does not come as of right especially upon the mere lodging of an application and the payment of fees ” the affidavit in opposition further asserted.

Previous Obengfo Challenges

The Obengfo Hospital has been closed down a number of times in the past with the owner of the facility also being arrested and arraigned. Dr Obeng-Andoh was in December 2016 arrested over issues of licensing after the Medical and Dental Council (MDC) received complaints of medical complications from some persons who had patronized the facility.

In January 2017, the Medical and Dental Council (MDC) again closed down Obengfo Hospital for operating illegally. The MDC in 2019 cautioned the public to desist from patronizing the services of the Obengfo health facility.

Next Court Hearing

Criminal High Court presided over by Justice Elfreda Amy Dankyi, on the 16th of July 2021, will be expected to hear the case and deliver its judgement in the suit which is entitled The Republic Vrs Health Facilities Regulatory Agency (Respondent), Ex Parte, Obengfo Hospital (First Applicant) and Dr. Dominic Obeng Andoh (second Applicant).