The Vice President of Imani Africa has questioned why the Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, is still at post following revelations in the report of the Parliamentary Committee that probed the Sputnik V vaccine contract.
Kofi Bentil on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Monday stressed that Mr Agyeman-Manu breached every procurement process and constitutional requirements about the contract.
Thus, the Health Minister must be sacked, he said.
“Every law was broken. And for me, I don’t know how we arrived at a situation where a country like Ghana behaves as if we don’t have a government. This is a multi-million dollar deal, an international deal that has to do with a very serious product; a vaccine in a time of a pandemic when just about a million or less had been vaccinated, and people were dying.
“Nothing is as serious as this, and yet somebody just got up with millions of dollars and proceeded without even Ministerial approval, without the involvement of technical people, did not get Cabinet approval, did not get PPA approval, did not get Parliamentary approval and claimed deliberately in error that it was under Covid-19 law which was not,” he stated.
He further added, “I have done Policy Analysis for 20 years, and I don’t remember coming across such abrasive act of malfeasance, and I do not know how that is possible.”
The Ad hoc Committee set up also concluded that government paid Dubai-based businessman Sheik Al – Maktoum GH₵16 million for the vaccines despite claims by the Health Minister under oath that no money has been paid.
Reacting to this, Mr Bentil described it as extremely embarrassing adding that “these are stuff you see in war-torn countries; places where there is no government, and I don’t know how that is possible.”
For him, Mr Agyeman-Manu should not only be sacked but must be prosecuted.
“The Committee that was looking at this and decided not to recommend anything is just committing this country to more of serious malfeasance. And I don’t know how one man can get up, take government money, pay it someone and without any bona fides and just go and lie about it,” he stated
Meanwhile, after the report went public, a cross-section of the public, including the Minority, called for the Minister to go.
Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, says his side of the aisle will not back down on their push to get the Health Minister out of the job.
“We will not abandon this matter. If the President does not revoke the appointment of the Minister for Health, we will request him through a vote of censorship to consider that matter,” he said.
Also, the New Crusading Guide newspaper editor-in-chief, Kwaku 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.”
Parliament set up the Ad hoc Committee to probe the contract submitted its report to the House on Friday, August 6, 2021.
The Committee established that the contract with Messrs Al Maktoum was signed without approval by the Public Procurement Authority under Sections 40 and 41 of Act 663 and without regard to the requirements of Article 181(5) of the Constitution.
“The Committee found that the amount of $2,850,000.00 (representing 50% of the contract sum of $5,700,000.00) has been paid to Messrs Al Maktoum and this translates into the cedi equivalent of GH¢16,331,640.00 converted at the then prevailing exchange rate of US$1 to ¢5.73 whereas the Minister said he did not know about payment under oath,” the report revealed.
Therefore, the Committee recommended that the Finance Ministry retrieve the $2,850,000.00 (representing 50% of the contract sum of $5,700,000.00) paid to Messrs Al Maktoum.
Additionally, the Committee has presented the agreements entered into by the Ministry to the Public Procurement Authority for ratification.
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