The Coalition for Social Justice (CSJ) has called for the immediate resignation of the health minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu for his involvement in the failed procurement of Sputnik V vaccines.
The group also asked that the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta be punished â€œfor issuing advanced paymentâ€ to the Dubai supplier, Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum.
This comes after the Ad-hoc Committee of Parliament set up to investigate the unsuccessful procurement of the vaccine by the Health Ministry, released a report of its findings and recommendations.
In portions of the report, the Committee said it discharged its mandate by â€œdiligentlyâ€ examining the two agreements as well as â€œwritten and oral evidence on the subject within the parameters of the seven terms of reference and the timelines given by the houseâ€.
The Committee said it found that the Ministry of Health did not comply with the requirements of Article 181(5) of the Constitution in respect of its agreement with Messrs Al Maktoum.
â€œThe minister said that he did that because of the exigencies of the time when COVID-19 posed public health crisis with highest fatalities and there was urgent global search for vaccines and at that material time the agreements were signed, all government-to-government sources had failed as the bilateral sources had communicated to the Ministry that they would only be able to deliver in August 2021â€, portions of the report said.
It added: â€œSuffice to say that the bilateral sources did not include Russia since Ghana had no such arrangement with Russiaâ€.
â€œThe agreements ensuing from the negotiations have been submitted to the PPA for ratification, the Committee determined that the agreements were entered into without prior approval by the PPA under Sections 40 and 41 of Act 663. Indeed, at the time of completing its work, PPA was yet to do the ratificationâ€.
A statement issued by the Coalition for Social Justice (CSJ) on 10 August 2021 noted: â€œWe are thus compelled to call on the Health Minister to resign with immediate effect if he has any conscience as his conduct does not make him fit for public office. This is the same man who lied about his Covid-19 positive status and further lied about the status of a generator at the UGMC.
â€œHon Ken Ofori-Atta must equally be made to face the music for issuing advanced payment to the supplier without the consent of the contracting ministry. What was his interest in the transaction that motivated him to ignore the Health Minister on such a decision?â€
Read full statement below:
KEN OFORI ATTA IS AS GUILTY AS KWEKU AGYEMANG MANU; BOTH MUST BE HELD TO ACCOUNT
The Coalition for Social Justice (CSJ) is scandalised by revelations and findings contained in the Report of the Parliamentary Ad-hoc Committee that investigated the ill-fated decision by the Akufo Addo government to procure some Three Hundred Thousand (300,000) Sputnik V Vaccines for inoculation of Ghanaians.
It is worthy of note that the calls for an investigations were triggered by the appearance of the Health Minister, Hon Kwaku Agyemang Manu before Parliament where he virtually lied about the details of the transaction as regards the unit cost of the vaccines as well as an advanced payment to the supplier Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum.
Whereas the unit price of the vaccine was an average of Ten Dollars ($10.00), the Hon Health Minister committed Ghana to a transaction of Nineteen Dollars ($19.00) which by any standard is on the high side and amounts to a fleece of the public purse which Akufo Addo promised to protect.
Hon Kwaku Agyemang Manu is on record to have told parliament that he was not aware of any payments made by the Ghana government to the private businessman in line with this transaction even though the Committeeâ€™s report revealed that a whopping amount of Two Million, Eight Hundred Thousand Dollars ($2,800,000.00) had been released to the supplier through the Ministry of Finance.
This by any stretch of imagination amounts to a calculated attempt by officialdom to rip off the state and hence the people of Ghana who are reeling under very difficult conditions and being reminded all the time to tighten their belts and cope with these difficult times.
The CSJ notes that this unfortunate Covid-19 pandemic in Ghana rather offers a convenient leeway for the Akufo Addo government and its officials as well as cronies to loot the state coffers under the cloak of emergency as epitomised by the numerous smelly contracts and transactions being entered into which offer no value for money as the public procurement law is always side-stepped.
We are thus compelled to call on the Health Minister to resign with immediate effect if he has any conscience as his conduct does not make him fit for public office. This is the same man who lied about his Covid-19 positive status and further lied about the status of a generator at the UGMC.
Hon Ken Ofori Atta must equally be made to face the music for issuing advanced payment to the Supplier without the consent of the contracting ministry. What was his interest in the transaction that motivated him to ignore the Health Minister on such a decision?
The rot and corrupt dealings under Akufo Addo have become one too many and something must be done about it. If Akufo Addo was committed to the fight against corruption, he would have by now sacked the Health Minister. Unfortunately, we all know how he deals with his appointees who are caught up in such shady deals hence the need for the citizenry and civil society to put pressure on the Health Minister to resign.
Awudu Ishaq (Secretary-CSJ)