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Health Minister must be held responsible, punished over botched Sputnik V deal

The African Center for Health Policy Research and Analysis, says the report of parliament’s adhoc committee set up to probe the controversial Sputnik V vaccine is not conclusive enough as it does not stress on punitive measures for the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman Manu.

According to Dr. Thomas Anaba, the minister must be held solely responsible for the botched deal.

Speaking on Eyewitness News, Dr. Anaba said the conclusions of the committee and the admissions of the health minister make it imperative for some sanctions to be recommended by the committee.

“The work wasn’t conclusive enough…  I think the minster took the decision to sign the agreement knowing very well that he needed to do serious consultation. Somebody must be held responsible. If the ministry took the responsibility to do things very well that we should have consulted other institutions, then he should be responsible,” he said.

The report, sighted by Citi News tasked the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, to take steps to recover the $2,850,000 expended towards the botched procurement of several doses of the Sputnik-V vaccine.

Although the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman Manu, indicated that no money was paid to the company despite an initial 20,000 supplied to Ghana, the report by the committee found that 50 percent of the total contract sum was actually paid.

“According to the Bank of Ghana, in its letter of 31st March, 2021, out of the total amount of US$5,700,000.00 owed to Sheikh Al Maktoum, an amount of US$2,850,000.00 representing 50% has been paid to him and that translates into a Cedi equivalent of GH¢16,331,640.00 converted at the exchange rate of US$1 to GH¢5.73,” excerpts of the report available to Citi News stated.

The Committee also found that the Ministry of Health did not comply with the requirements of Article 181(5) of the Constitution in respect of its agreement with an intermediary, Messrs Al Maktoum.

Dr. Anaba suggested that criminal proceedings could be initiated against the minister since he had stated under oath that no money was paid in the process to procure the vaccine.

“At least there are points there to suggest that something went wrong and that the minister signed the contract without approval. We have also gotten to know that we have paid monies that he swore on oath that we have not paid any monies,” he said.

He said he is hoping that President Akufo-Addo will take action on the report and mete out some sanctions.

“We still hope that the one who is to take the ultimate decision, the President, will take a good decision for us to know that he is really protecting the purse of this country [because] money has already been given to people who are yet to do any work.”

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