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Refunding botched Sputnik V money not enough; Agyeman-Manu must be penalized – Vitus Azeem

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Anti-Corruption Campaigner, Vitus Azeem, has insisted that the refunding of the money paid in the botched Sputnik V deal by Sheikh Al Maktoum is no excuse to back down on calls for the resignation or dismissal of the Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu.

He wants Ghana to follow the example of other countries that have dealt with officials for misuse and abuse of office in the spending of COVID-19 related funds.

In an interview on Eyewitness News on Thursday, August 12, 2021, Vitus Azeem stressed the need for the Health Minister to be held accountable for his actions.

“I don’t think this should be over yet. If you steal money and the money is recovered, it does not mean you have committed no crime.”

“The fact that they have refunded the money does not clear the Minister of the crime he has committed. He has breached the PPA Act, he lied under oath, among others. He should be penalised to ensure such issues do not come up in the future. Again, we are not really sure the Minister was in this alone. We need to further probe the case.”

Speaking to Citi News on the same issue, the Executive Director of the Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA), Mensah Thompson, also maintainsed that the latest move does not justify the Minister’s action.

“Getting the money back does not remedy the violations in respect of the Public Procurement Laws, the Financial Administrations Act, and also the usurping of article 181 (5). The money has been refunded, but then there are other issues that have to be looked into.”

“This is not just with the Health Minister but also the Finance Minister, the Accountant General, and even officials from the Bank of Ghana, attempted murder is murder.”

The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, has faced intense criticism after an ad hoc committee of Parliament concluded that he entered into the Sputnik V deal without approval from the relevant institutions.

It also recommended, among other things, that the Finance Minister takes steps to recover over $2 million paid to Sheikh Ah Maktoum for undelivered vaccines.

Meanwhile, documents sighted by Citi News indicate that the Sheikh has returned the money to the government of Ghana.

Other groups and individuals have asked the Attorney General to initiate criminal proceedings against the embattled minister.

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