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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Pressure mounts on Health Minister to resign following botched Sputnik V vaccine contract

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Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, health minister, is under pressure to resign after revelations in the Sputnik V vaccine contract report by the Parliamentary Committee.

On Saturday, August 7, Parliament took a break without taking a decision on the report.

Following the release of the report, a cross-section of the public, including the Minority, called for the Minister to resign.

During a vote on the fate of the Health Minister, minority MPs chanted war songs after the 2nd Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Andrew Amoako Asiamah, called off the vote.

Haruna Iddrisu, the minority leader, says his side of the aisle will not back down in its quest to remove the Health Minister from office.

“We will not abandon this matter. If the President does not revoke the appointment of the Minister for Health, we will request him through a vote of censorship to consider that matter,” he said.

According to the Committee, the government paid Dubai-based businessman Sheik Al-Maktoum GHS16 million for the vaccines despite claims from the Health Minister under oath, “to the best of my knowledge, we haven’t done any payment”.

The report also concludes that the Minister violated constitutional provisions regarding prior Parliamentary approval and the Public Procurement Act.

Private legal practitioner, Martin Kpebu also says the Minister “should have gone a long time ago.”

The New Crusading Guide newspaper Editor-in-Chief, Kweku Baako Jnr, says the Minister has to resign.

“If he is minded to… resign, I will endorse it; I will vote for him if he were to do the honorable thing and just quit. You cannot defend this.”

Alexander Afenyo Markin, Deputy Majority Leader in Parliament, says justice should be tempered with mercy.

“To the extent that that decision was to save lives, we must commend him,” he told the House.

In addition, the 28-page report recommended that the Finance Ministry retrieve GH¢16,331,640 paid to Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum.

It is said that this amount was paid by the government in order to procure Russian vaccines through the middleman.

It was revealed that Messrs Al Maktoum received $2,850,000.00 (representing 50% of the contract sum of $5,700,000.00) at a rate of $1 to ¢5.73 when the Minister said he had no knowledge of the payment under oath.






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