Ranking Member on Parliament’s Health Committee and MP for Juaboso, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh
The Ranking Member on the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health has demanded the immediate abrogation of the Sputnik-V vaccine deal between the Ministry of Health and a private businessman from Dubai.
The MP for Juaboso, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh in a press statement issued June 11, accused the Akufo-Addo led administration of contravening the Constitution by contracting an irregular source for Covid-19 vaccines.
This, he explained is because the agreement involves foreign counterparts and as required by our law, it should be brought to parliament for ample scrutiny and approval before being implemented.
“The Minority in Parliament is deeply concerned about the manner in which government ascribed onto itself powers beyond the remit of our laws to sign a contract to procure Sputnik V vaccines from an irregular source.
“We all know that procurement of vaccines, especially for Covid-19, is done on a government to government basis, or agreements signed directly with 2 manufacturers or procured through multilateral agreements with agencies such as the AU, UNICEF, the EU and other international agencies and not sold to individuals or private companies,” parts of the statement read.
According to the Minority, this raises “a lot of questions as to the source of these vaccines, their efficacy and whether the quality control mechanisms required by the manufacturer has been duly followed to guarantee the high levels of safety expected of such vaccines.
Mr Akandoh is therefore, is demanding that “government should abrogate and refrain from making any payment with respect to this contract before laying the entirety of the contract before Parliament for scrutiny and subsequent approval.”
Mr Kwabena Mintah Akandoh further revealed that in March this year, Health Minister Kwaku Agyeman Manu informed the Health Committee of Parliament that the cost of vaccines to be procured by the government, would not exceed $10 per dose.
In addition, “the Minister of Health on behalf of government also furnished the committee a vaccine deployment plan that had two scenarios. One was a worst-case scenario that reduced the first phase of vaccinations from vaccinating over 7 million Ghanaians to a reduced number slightly above 1.5million by the middle of June 2021.
“The Minority in Parliament was made to believe that government was going to demonstrate competence by working through appropriate channels using bilateral and multilateral relations with countries and their manufacturers to secure the much-needed vaccines for Ghanaians,” he said.
But recent reports from the media, he noted, showed that the government has used the back door through the Ministry of Health and signed an agreement with a private businessman from Dubai to procure Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccines sidestepping regular channels and resorting to middle-men to purchase the vaccine at $26 per dose.
In an amended agreement sighted by Myjoyonline.com, the Health Ministry few hours after its earlier statement stated that it has agreed to pay $18.5 per dose instead of the original price of $26.
Under the agreement, the Ghanaian-owned company, serving as the intermediary, is required to deliver the five million vaccines in batches; one million doses each month until the fifth month.
Nonetheless, Mr Mintah Akandhh has described as worrying, the inflated price at which the government is procuring these vaccines. His reason being the manufacturer of the vaccines has issued a statement to the effect that the price per dose should not exceed $10 on the international market.
“The cardinal question then is, why is government contracting with a businessman who may not be an authorized agent of the manufacturer, instead of transacting business with Russian institutions?” he quizzed.
For him, it is shocking that the Akufo-Addo-led administration would resort to a third party, especially when Ghana has mutual cooperation and maintains a strong diplomatic relationship with the Russian Federation.
“This speaks poorly of the diplomatic prowess of our former Minister for Foreign Affairs now President, Nana Akufo-Addo,” he stressed.
He, therefore, drew the conclusion that “indications surrounding this deal points to an attempt to rip-off the Ghanaian taxpayer and maximize profit for some private individuals in government and their foreign partners.
He pointed out that government is behind its own scheduled vaccination deployment plan to attain herd immunity by the end of the year.
“Today is the 11th of June and government has not been able to commence any of the mass immunization campaigns it promised at the beginning of the year. All we have done as a country is immunization of some selected groups not more than 1 million within our population,” they argued.