Pharmacist and Fellow at the Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), Dr Kwame Sarpong Asiedu has revealed that a Minister of State was responsible for government’s use of middlemen to procure the controversial Sputnik vaccines

He said the Minister initiated the whole process to contract Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum, and his aide, Umar Farooq Zahoor for supply of the Covid-19 vaccines. This revelation, sharply contrasts with claims by government spokespersons that the Sheikh initiated the deal.

Speaking Saturday on Newsfile, Mr. Asiedu said, “I was given the impression that the Sheikh approached us [but] I have correspondence which I would show, that a Minister of state actually wrote to the Sheikh on the 18th of February with the Sheikh responding with a letter on the 19th February to say that I’ll avail myself if you’re interested,” he said.

Although he didn’t mention the name of the Minister, Mr Asiedu disclosed that the letter initiating the transaction with the Sheikh has a reference number that can be associated with the Ministry of Health.

The controversy surrounding the procurement of the 5 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccines followed a publication by a Norwegian news portal, VG that it had uncovered the quest by government to buy the Sputnik V vaccine for $18.5 per dose from the businessmen instead of $10.

The report revealed that government had signed a contract for the purchase of the Sputnik V vaccine with an Emirati official who it said was involved in the controversial Ameri power deal and a Norwegian citizen charged with money laundering in Norway.

Following this reportage, the Minority in Parliament has called for a thorough investigation into the matter indicating that the pricing of the product is a rip off.

In response, government said it rather successfully negotiated the price of the Sputnik V vaccine downwards from a higher price.

Also, the Chairman of Parliament’s Health Committee, Dr Nana Ayew Afriyie dispelled claims that government has been swindled in the deal to procure the Sputnik-V Covid-19 vaccine.

He further argued that producers of the vaccine do not deal directly with government, hence the use of middlemen. This, he revealed is the cause of the increase in the original price of $10 per dose, which is the factory price.

But speaking on Newsfile, Saturday, the Pharmacist dismissed this assertion, citing various instances where the government of Russia has engaged in direct deals with other governments.

“We have been given the impression that the Russian Development fund only deals through middlemen. I want to place on record that that’s not very accurate. They deal through middlemen. I know of Slovakia, Brazil, etc. who have done direct contracts with them.

He believes that the Ministry of Health could have helped the country better if it had engaged directly with the Russian government.