The Minister for Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, has disclosed that his outfit acted in accordance with Executive Instrument (E.I) 61 to procure Sputnik V vaccines through middlemen due to the urgent need to curtail the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic that hit the country.
Appearing before the Public Accounts Committee on Monday, to answer questions regarding government’s procurement of some Sputnik V vaccines through Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum, Mr Agyeman-Manu stated that he could not obtain Parliamentary approval because he was frustrated and treated the situation as an emergency.
“In my frustrations to try to get vaccines for us in the heat of our second wave, I relied on the Executive Instrument (E.1) 61 which was passed by Parliament to hide behind emergency clauses that have been invoked to try and see if I could do that and come to inform Parliament that this is what I have done, therefore, I need regularization, I need the approval to buy it.
“We were in dire need of the vaccines and I had the [responsibility] to try to procure the vaccines to vaccinate Ghanaians to protect our lives,” he said.
His response was, however, not accepted by the Vice-chairman of the committee, who later drew the attention of the Health Minister to procedures he should have adhered to after he considered the issue as an emergency.
“Mr Minister, you are a senior Minister in this House, you are aware of how we deal with emergency situations in Parliament. We have conventions and rules, governing how we deal with emergency issues, that is appearing before the relevant committee and make a case so that the issue can be dealt with as an emergency issue. Why didn’t you take advantage of that procedure?” Kwabena Mintah Akandoh quizzed.
“Those were not normal times and I was seriously in a situation that couldn’t make me think properly, the way we think now,” Mr Agyeman-Manu replied.
Meanwhile, the Health Minister has given the assurance such actions will not recur in the future.
He also affirmed earlier submissions by his outfit that the Ministry of Health employed diplomatic channels to procure the Sputnik V vaccines from the Russian government; a submission that has been contested by the Minority.
Mr Agyeman Manu admitted to the MP for Techiman North, Elizabeth Ofosu Agyare, that he has submitted letters sent to the Russian government to prove that his outfit first and foremost employed diplomatic measures to acquire the Sputnik V vaccines.
On Wednesday, March 3, 2021, the government signed a purchase contract for 3.4 million doses of the vaccine after it received an initial 15,000 doses from Sheikh Al Maktoum.
However, government’s contract with middle-man Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum to supply the country with Sputnik V vaccines got terminated on July 15, 2021, after the Minority in Parliament raised alarm over the procedures the Health Ministry employed to procure the vaccines.
According to the Health Minister, Sheikh Maktoum’s reason for the decision was because he “is struggling to raise vaccines.”
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