Health

Health Minister wrote to Sheikh Al Maktoum to retrieve money paid for Sputnik V vaccines

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It has emerged that the Ministry of Health has initiated moves to retrieve a fraction of the money paid to Dubai-based businessman Sheikh Al Maktoum for the botched procurement 300,000 doses of Sputnik V vaccine.

A letter signed by the Minister, Kwaku Agyemang Manu, and addressed to the businessman requested a refund of money paid for undelivered doses of the vaccine.

Despite an agreement for the supply of 300,000 doses of the vaccine, only 20,000 was actually delivered before the businessman initiated processes to terminate the contract on July 14, 2021.

Mr. Kwaku Agyemang Manu in the letter said, “By this letter, I also wish to formally request for the refund of the remaining amount for the non-supplied doses, which should be the total amount paid to your office minus the amount due for the 20,000 doses you already supplied, in line with your earlier e-mail dated 25th July, 2021 in which it was affirmed that on the 13th of April, 2021, funds were transferred into your accounts as fifty percent (50%) advance for the initial batch of 300,000 doses.”

The letter, dated August 2, 2021, was before the nine-member ad hoc committee set up by parliament to probe the botched deal recommended that the Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, takes action to retrieve the money already advanced to the businessman.

Kwaku Agyemang Manu has come under serious criticism for entering into the vaccine supply agreement without parliamentary, cabinet approval or approval from the Public Procurement Authority (PPA).

The Attorney General is on record to have advised against the deal.

The Minority in Parliament last week called on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to immediately dismiss the Minister of Health saying he is not fit to be in office.

They argue that he violated the 1992 constitution and his oath of office by trying to procure vaccines through middlemen without recourse to Parliament or cabinet.

“It is beyond any reasonable doubt the minister betrayed his oath of office and for that matter, and he also failed to uphold the constitution and the laws of our country.”

“I must say that the Minister should be sanctioned. He must be removed by the president. He is not fit to occupy the office of a minister of state and must therefore be removed from office henceforth, failing which this House must pass a vote of censure on the minister,” said minority chief whip, Muntaka Mubarak.

They also took the minister on over his claim that no payment was made in the deal when the committee’s finding pointed to the fact that money was actually paid.

But the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu while addressing the press said the minister’s use of the caveat ‘to the best of his knowledge’ [he was not aware of any payment] absolves him of any offence of lying under oath.

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