Member of Parliament for South Dayi, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor has stated that government should not expect praise from Ghanaians after allowing the country to be defrauded in the Covid-19 vaccine procurement.

“It’s only this government that can say that they should be praised anytime they are ripping this country off,” he said Thursday.

His comment comes on the back of the government’s defence of the transaction. The Ministry of Health issued a statement after the transaction was criticised by various stakeholders explaining that it rather successfully negotiated the price of the Russia Sputnik-V Covid-19 vaccine from a higher price of $25 to $19. This followed an accusation by a Norwegian newspaper, VG indicating that global competitive prices hover around $10.

The Chairman of Parliament’s Health Committee, Dr Nana Ayew Afriyie, in dismissing the claim, said the producers of the vaccine do not deal directly with the government, as such, middlemen were being used, hence the price of $19 per dose.

But, the South Dayi MP begs to differ. He maintained that the move was simply an attempt by the government, and persons who are in charge of this transaction, to rip the nation off.

Speaking on the AM Show on JoyNews, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor questioned why the Ministry of Health bought the vaccines from middlemen when it could approach its counterpart government agencies in Russia. He therefore concluded that the Ministry’s explanation is a ridiculous one.

“Why would you want to go through a middleman when you can approach your colleague government. The government of the Republic of Ghana today is saying that they are unable to deal with another government, and therefore they must go through a middleman?” he quizzed.

“And that middle man is offering us a vaccine at double the price? You see, they are giving you a reason, however ridiculous, they don’t even realize that it’s a very ridiculous reason,” he added.

According to him, the NPP government has been pontificating emergency in everything they do, “so everything they have done so far has been clouded in secrecy and so they think that we shouldn’t criticize them if they rip us off.”

“Look, they negotiated Ameri from 540 million dollars to over 1 billion and say that we should praise them,” he told host Benjamin Akakpo.

“Look, this government has taken GH¢21 billion, equivalent to $4 billion to fight Covid-19, this is the first time they want to go and buy one vaccine, from that money so far, even that, they want to purchase it double the price for the people of this country,” he said. 

“You have been gifted vaccines, for the first time go and buy some, look at the mess they are creating.”

Ghana signed agreements with suppliers for Sputnik V, but according to Dr Afriyie, no payments have been made as none of the consignments has been delivered by the supplier.

In the interim, the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, when asked why he purchased the vaccine for $19 per dose indicated that protecting the lives of the Ghanaian people was prioritized.

“You know, it’s easy to sit somewhere else and say: Why are you doing this? But you need to make sure you protect your people. You manage that as well as you can,” Mr Ofori-Atta said.

But Mr Dafeamekpor believes that, “this is all a contrived and manufactured crisis because clearly there are enough [vaccines] to go around if only there was equity and justice in what we are doing.”