President Akufo-Addo has acknowledged the works of the Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, amidst the pressure on his appointee to resign over the botched Sputnik V vaccine procurement deal.
Tagging the Minister as an important player in his government, the President, during his speech at a durbar of chiefs in the Bono Region on Tuesday, said Mr Agyeman-Manu has endured a lot of suffering to stabilise the health sector.
He further stated jocularly that the Minister despite his efforts “is receiving slaps” from a section of Ghanaians in the past few days.
“There are a lot of people from the Bono Region in my government; including the Minister of Health, who is currently receiving slaps [from Ghanaians].
“He is an indigene of Dormaa. He has really suffered in that Health Ministry and is still suffering,” he said of his appointee while laughing together with dignitaries and others gathered at the venue.
Although President Akufo-Addo did not specifically link his comment to the controversial Sputnik V Vaccine procurement deal, some people have referenced it since the Minister took a two-week leave from work amidst the intense criticisms.
Agyeman-Manu must go
Following the revelations in the report of the Parliamentary Committee that probed the Sputnik V vaccine contract, a section of Ghanaians have called for the resignation of the Health Minister.
Private legal practitioner, Martin Kpebu also says the Minister “should have gone a long time ago.”
“You see that the report has made matters worse for him,” he explained.
Also, the New Crusading Guide newspaper Editor-in-Chief, Kweku Baako Jnr, says the Minister has to resign.
“If he is minded to… resign, I will endorse it; I will vote for him if he were to do the honourable thing and just quit. You cannot defend this.”On Monday,
Kofi Bentil on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show stressed that Mr Agyeman-Manu breached every contract’s procurement process and constitutional requirements.
Thus, the Health Minister must be sacked, he said.
Trade of letters
On Monday, the Minister wrote to Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum with whom he signed a deal to procure Sputnik V vaccines, to refund the money for the non-supplied doses.
According to the letter, the Dubai-based businessman has agreed to refund $2,470,000 paid by government to supply 300,000 doses of Sputnik Covid-19 vaccines.
The letter was in reference to an earlier one dated August 5, 2021, from Sheikh Al Maktoum to the Health Ministry.
“The Private Officer of His Highness, per the correspondence, has honourably agreed to refund an amount of $2,470,000 being the balance left on the 50% advance payment of $2,850,000,” portions of the Health Ministry’s letter to the Finance Ministry read.
Parliamentary probe into botched Sputnik V contract
This comes after the Committee tasked to investigate the deal, found that the amount of $2,850,000 (representing 50% of the contract sum of $5,700,000) has been paid to Messrs Al Maktoum despite the Minister claiming no payment had been made “to the best of my knowledge.”
The amount which translates into the cedi equivalent of GH¢16,331,640 converted at the then prevailing exchange rate of $1 to ¢5.73, was for the cost of 300,000 vaccines.
This comes after the Committee tasked to investigate the deal, found that the amount of $2,850,000 (representing 50% of the contract sum of $5,700,000) has been paid to Sheikh Al Maktoum despite the Minister claiming no payment had been made “to the best of my knowledge.”