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Sack Agyeman-Manu like any other public official – GII to Akufo-Addo

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The Ghana Integrity Initiative, GII, has added its voice to calls for President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to dismiss the Health Minister, Kweku Agyeman-Manu over the botched procurement of the Sputnik V vaccines.

In an interview on Eyewitness News, the Programs Manager of GII, Mary Ada, said there’s no justification for the actions of the Minister.

She thus asked the President to sack the Minister to serve as a deterrent to others.

“There is no reason whatsoever for him to still be in office. We all agree that due processes were not followed, we all also agree and he himself has agreed that he did not seek approval from Parliament, neither did he go through cabinet to seek approval and decided that it was out of pressure, and he was confused.”

“Any public officer who accepts to do his job and agrees to be a public officer knows the magnitude and the demands of the office and cannot justify any wrongdoing or whatever confusion or the exigencies of the time. We need to ensure that processes are followed, and due diligence is enhanced in this country. So those who do wrong should be called to order just like another Ghanaian, and Kwaku Agyeman-Manu is no different. So he should as a matter of urgency be called to order.”

Agyeman-Manu’s offence
On Friday, August 6, 2021, the ad-hoc committee that was tasked by Parliament to probe the deal, submitted its findings to the house.

The Committee among other things reported that the Ministry of Health did not comply with the requirements of Article 181(5) of the Constitution in respect of its agreement with an intermediary, Messrs Al Maktoum.

The committee also determined that the agreements were entered into without prior approval by the Public Procurement Authority under Sections 40 and 41 of Act 663.

“The Agreements ensuing from the negotiations have been submitted to the PPA for ratification… Indeed, at the time of completing its work, PPA was yet to do the ratification.”

“The committee urges the Minister for Finance to take steps to recover the money due the Republic in respect of the amount of US$2,850,000.00 (Cedi equivalent of GH¢16,331,640.00) being the cost of the Sputnik-V vaccines that were proposed to be procured,” the Committee recommended.

Background
As Ghana struggled to reach its target of vaccinating 20 million citizens, it emerged that the government was using the services of middlemen to procure 3.4 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik-V vaccines.

But this was at a higher cost of $19 other than the original factory price of $10.

This prompted calls for the abrogation of the procurement contract.

The issue first came to light when a Norwegian news outlet, Verdens Gang, reported that Ghana had requested to purchase the doses of the Sputnik V vaccine through two businessmen who are selling it to Ghana at $19 per dose instead of the $10 per dose on the international market

The initial price quoted for the vaccine was US$25, but it was negotiated downwards to US$19, according to the Ghana Health Service.

The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, who is a board member of the GAVI Vaccine Alliance, admitted that he did not seek cabinet and parliamentary approval before engaging the private individual for the procurement of Sputnik V vaccines when he appeared before the bi-partisan committee.

Meanwhile, the company that agreed to supply Ghana with the overpriced Sputnik V vaccines has terminated the contract it had with the country, according to the Minister.

The businessman has however agreed to refund the money for the undelivered doses of the vaccines after the Minister of Health wrote to him to request the amount.

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