A private legal practitioner and a member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Gordon Edudzi Tameklo, has accused the Akufo-Addo of taking undue advantage of the covid situation to make excessive financial gains.
He said the company that was contracted to test for Covid at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA), Frontiers Limited, was deliberately chosen by the government to, allegedly, enable the agenda of profiteering take place.
Edudzi Tameklo stated on the New Day show on TV3 Monday March 21 that the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research has always been known to be the institute that conducts tests of this kind.
However, the Covid testing at the KIA contract was awarded to Frontiers which at the time, did not have any track record in testing.
“We are now paying 60million dollars free money,” he said, adding that “it was an avenue for profiteering by the Akufo-Addo administration.
“We had always used officers of Noguchi to do testing, so when an opportunity came for making money, we felt we were going to use Noguchi but we sidestepped Noguchi and went for a company that had no experience in testing.”
For his part, the former Member of Parliament for Okaikwei North, Fuseini Issah dismissed his claims saying the government needed to build the capacity of other testing companies.
“You don’t know the other number of companies that have been contracted to do what Frontiers is doing. Edudzi’s comments are neither here nor there.
“What is wrong with sole-sourcing? There is absolutely nothing against no sole-souring. We had to build more capacities, we couldn’t limit everything to Noguchi,” he said.
Their comments came after Former President John Dramani Mahama asked the government to stop the US$50 compulsory polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for travellers who have been vaccinated.
Mr Mahama also said the government must also stop the demand for originating PCR tests before the same category of travellers are allowed to board flights to Ghana.
In a Facebook post on Saturday March 19, he said “I travelled last month to London on British Airways. I was pleasantly surprised when I was informed that I did not require a COVID-19 PCR test to board the flight.
“While I was still required to fill a locator form, no further tests were required of me for the 12 days I stayed in the UK. Imagine my shock when British Airways informed me that I would be required to take a PCR test before I am allowed to board my return flight home. They explained that this is because of regulations in Ghana. It cost £90 to have the test done.
“I was also informed that I would not be checked in for the flight back unless I filled an online form and paid a fee of $50.From my recent experience with PCR testing and COVID regulations at our airport, I think it is time for Government to review the procedures and protocols.
“It is an inconvenience, a financial burden and actually unfair to compel our citizens, who we encouraged to take COVID-19 vaccinations, with some taking the boosters, to pay as much as £90 to a foreign clinic for a PCR test before they are allowed to board flights coming back home. And even more ridiculous, they must book another $50 PCR test to be conducted on arrival in Accra. The UK government considers the Ghanaian COVID-19 vaccination card internationally accepted and allows entry once you have the card without any testing.
“It is a most unfortunate situation that Ghanaians who have valid vaccination certificates cannot board flights back home without a £90 PCR test, and an additional US$50 PCR test booking in Accra.
“Government must stop the US$50 compulsory PCR test for travellers who have been vaccinated. And must also stop the demand for originating PCR tests before the same category of travellers are allowed to board flights to Ghana. The reason for UK rolling back its COVID-19 restrictions is that deaths are down and severe cases requiring intensive care are down, and besides they believe it’s time to learn to live with Covid.
“I think it is time for us in Ghana to do same. The long border closures have devastated the economy of our border communities. Government’s announcement that it is deliberating at Cabinet about a possible opening of our land borders is long overdue. Let’s open the land borders now!”