The Deputy Majority Leader and Chairman of Parliament’s ad-hoc committee that probed the botched Sputnik V vaccine procurement, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, has rejected calls for the Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu to resign over the deal.
Afenyo-Markin insists the minister meant well for Ghanaians in all his dealings with regard to the deal.
Pressure has been piling on the Health Minister to resign over the botched deal.
Those calls intensified after the ad-hoc parliamentary committee released its report and asked the Finance Ministry to retrieve over GHS16 million expended on the deal.
The report also disclosed that the minister breached several procurement processes and also engaged middlemen while trying to secure the Sputnik V vaccines for Ghana.
The Minority in Parliament has threatened to pass a vote of censure on the Minister of Health.
Other Ghanaians have also added their voices to calls for the dismissal of the Minister.
However, the Deputy Majority Leader speaking on Joy FM’s Newfile on Saturday, August 14, 2021, said the minister has shown good faith to Ghanaians.
“Where I sit, the man comes with his story which is that at a particular point in time, death rate and infection rates were going up and government to government relationships that have been put in place for vaccine supply have also failed us, and he needed to take action.”
“He needed to make vaccines available for Ghanaians to vaccinate. So I think that the minister worked in good faith and he meant well for Ghanaians.”
Meanwhile, Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum, the Dubai-based businessman the Ministry of Health contacted for the procurement of the vaccines, has refunded to Ghana the $2,470,000 paid him.
As Ghana struggled to reach its target of vaccinating 20 million citizens, it emerged that the government was using the services of middlemen to procure 3.4 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik-V vaccines.
But this was at a higher cost of $19 other than the original factory price of $10.
This prompted calls for the abrogation of the contract.
The issue first came to light when a Norwegian news outlet, Verdens Gang, reported that Ghana had requested to purchase the doses of the Sputnik V vaccine through two businessmen who are selling it to Ghana at $19 per dose instead of the $10 per dose on the international market
The initial price quoted for the vaccine was US$25, but it was negotiated downwards to US$19, according to the Ghana Health Service.
The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, who is a board member of the GAVI Vaccine Alliance, admitted that he did not seek cabinet and parliamentary approval before engaging the private individual for the procurement of Sputnik V vaccines when he appeared before the bi-partisan parliamentary committee.
The middleman that agreed to supply Ghana with the overpriced Sputnik V vaccines subsequently terminated the contract he had with the country and refunded the money paid him.