The Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA) has given the Attorney General a 48-hour ultimatum to initiate criminal investigations against the Health Minister and all other persons involved in the failed Sputnik V vaccine deal.
Executive Director of ASEPA, Mensa Thompson, said that while a Parliamentary committee has already probed the matter, the work of the committee and its report weren’t thorough enough.
He is therefore threatening to take the issue up to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service should the Attorney General fail to act on the matter.
“I don’t think the committee was set up to tell us about the crime of the Minister. We already know that some infractions had already occurred with the procurement of the deal, and that is why the committee was formed in the first place. What we wanted was in respect of sanctions. So for the committee to come out with a report and fail in terms of sanctions against those violations, I think, it wasn’t thorough.”
“We are giving the Attorney General 48 hours to initiate criminal investigations against the Minister, or we take the issue up and file an official complaint at the CID for investigation and prosecution.”
It seems the Minister for Health, Kwaku Agyeman Manu’s nightmare over the botched Sputnik V vaccines deal, will not be leaving him anytime soon as pressure mounts on him to resign.
On Friday, August 6, 2021, the ad-hoc committee that was tasked 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 to 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.
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 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.
It has also emerged that the Minister on August 2, 2021, wrote to the businessman to retrieve money paid to him for the vaccines that weren’t supplied.