NDC MPs want Health Minister Kwaku  Agyeman-Manu censured

NDC MPs want Health Minister Kwaku Agyeman-Manu censured

Issues regarding the Sputnik V deal seems not to have died down amongst members of the Minority caucus in Parliament as they have initiated moves aimed at removing the Minister of Health Kwaku Agyeman-Manu over his dishonest role in the Sputnik V scandal.

The Minority affirmed its stance in a memo to the Speaker of Parliament calling for a vote of censure. The Minority said his actions were a “direct breach of the Constitution and Laws passed by this Honourable House.”

Enumerating  Mr. Agyemang-Manu’s failings in the six-point memo, they said the minister was guilty of perjury, among others, when he “misrepresented to the Ad Hoc Committee on Oaths that no payment was made under the agreement to the Private Office of His Highness Shiek Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum [the Dubai-based businessman the Ministry of Health contacted for the procurement].”

The whole issue surrounding the vaccines started after a report by a Norwegian newspaper VG stating that the government was using the service of middlemen to purchase 3.4 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V  Covid-19 vaccines.

But this was rather at a higher cost of $19 other than the original factory price of $10, a claim that brought suspicions and prompted calls for the abrogation of the procurement contract.

Mr. Agyemang-Manu had initially claimed that the state had not made any payments for the vaccine.

The Health Committee in Parliament also indicated that the government was not being ripped off in the deal with its chairman, Dr. Nana Ayew Afriyie saying that the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and the procurement of the Sputnik-V vaccines require the use of middlemen whose activities will lead to an increase in the original price.

Dr. Afriyie also defended that no consignment has been received, but a parliamentary committee set up to probe the deal indicated that the $2,850,000 representing 50 per cent of the $5,700,000 owed to Sheikh Maktoum for the supply of 300,000 doses of Sputnik V vaccine was actually paid to him, although only 20,000 doses were delivered.

The contract, according to Mr. Agyemang-Manu, was abrogated by Sheikh Ahmed after failure to meet his obligation.

A look into Findings of the committee

The parliamentary committee set up to probe the deal released damning findings, including the fact that the Health Ministry did not receive Cabinet approval for the deal.

The Health Ministry also breached the constitution by not seeking parliamentary approval for the agreement. In addition, the Public Procurement Authority did not seek approval from its Board before signing the Agreements.

The Minister for Finance had been tasked to take steps to recover the money already paid to Sheikh Al Maktoum.

The committee, however, did not outline explicit sanctions for the Health Minister.

These findings were contained in a 29-page report.

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