Ghana Politics

Dubai-Based Middleman Refunds Sputnik V Cash

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Dubai-based Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum, the middleman from whom the government of Ghana tried procuring 300,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine, has refunded $2,470,000 to Ghana’s coffers after the deal fell through.

Sheikh Al Maktoum, according to a correspondence via which he communicated the refund to the government of Ghana, said no money was drawn under the letter of credit, which, he noted, expired as of June 2021.

Sheikh Al Maktoum says he is expecting a payment receipt once the funds hit the country’s account.

Pressure has been mounting on Mr Agyeman-Manu to resign for sidelining parliament in the deal.

An initial sum of $2,470,000, being 50 per cent of the total sum, was paid to the middleman but the deal was cancelled after Sheikh Al Maktoum supplied 20,000 doses of the vaccine.

It followed reports by the Norwegian press that Ghana was paying $19 per dose instead of $10.

Mr Agyeman-Manu subsequently wrote to the Sheikh for a refund, to which the Sheikh agreed.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has said instead of being hard on Mr Agyeman-Manu and calling for his resignation over the botched deal, Ghanaians should rater empathise with the Dormaa Central MP, as he had the best of intentions for Ghanaians, thus, the deal. 

Speaking in an interview with Asaase Radio, Mr Ofori-Atta jumped to the defence of Mr Agyeman-Manu, saying: “To be so unsympathetic to somebody who felt like, ‘what can I do to ensure that there is continuity and to sit now comfortably and kind of just [castigate him is unfair]’

Mr Ofori-Atta said: “I am empathising and I expect that others will realise the type of pressure that he [Mr Agyeman-Manu] was under and his commitment to ensure that the Ghanaian people are safe”.  

According to him, some of the critics have no moral right to question the deal.

“I got interviewed by a number of European [media] and I was asking: ‘You dare to ask me about me paying more for vaccines when you are hoarding those vaccines? And I have one out of 100 people being vaccinated and you have 80 [out of 100], [but] sit there and ask: ‘why are you doing this?’ where’s the moral authority?” he asked. 

Asked if he thought Mr Agyeman-Manu had no other options, Mr Ofori-Atta said: “I’m not sure he did. I mean the issue [about] ‘would we get our money back?’ I mean we will. It will be my responsibility to make sure that I get the money back and I will”.

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