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The Minority is calling for the head of the Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, for undertaking an international transaction without prior approval from Parliament.
In a Memo to the Speaker on Wednesday, the Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak explained that the Dormaa Central MP’s action is contrary to Article 191 of the 1992 Constitution.
Therefore, the Minority wants the appointing authority to give him the sack.
According to the Minority signing a procurement agreement with the “prior approval of the Board of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) under sections 40 and 41 of the PPA Act, 2003 (663) as amended by Act 914 which constitutes a criminal offence under the law.”
The Minority said, considering that “the above conduct, being in direct breach of the Constitution and Laws of passed by this honourable House, the Health Minister be removed from office as a Minister by a vote of censure passed in accordance with Article 82 of the Constitution.”
Pressure has been mounting on the Minister to resign following revelations in the report of the Parliamentary Committee that probed the Sputnik V vaccine contract.
The Committee tasked to investigate the deal, found that the amount of $2,850,000 (representing 50% of the contract sum of $5,700,000) has been paid to Messrs Al Maktoum despite the Minister claiming no payment had been made “to the best of my knowledge.”
The amount that translates into the cedi equivalent of GH¢16,331,640 converted at the then prevailing exchange rate of $1 to ¢5.73 was for 300,000 vaccines.
This comes after the Committee tasked to investigate the deal, found that the amount of $2,850,000 (representing 50% of the contract sum of $5,700,000) has been paid to Sheikh Al Maktoum despite the Minister claiming no payment had been made “to the best of my knowledge.”
Following the release of the report, some notable individuals called for Mr Agyeman-Manu’s head.
Private legal practitioner, Martin Kpebu also says the Minister “should have gone a long time ago.”
“You see that the report has made matters worse for him,” he explained.
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 honourable thing and just quit. You cannot defend this.”
Kofi Bentil on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show also stated that Mr Agyeman-Manu breached every procurement process and constitutional requirements about the contract.
Thus, the Health Minister must be sacked, he said.
But in an interview on Adom FM last week, the Health Minister gave a blow-by-blow account of what transpired during the procurement of the Sputnik-V vaccine.
According to him, the country needed vaccines urgently although the commodity was scarce on the global market.
He further noted that the decision was tough but considering the number of lives being lost, he had to make a decision after consultation with his technical team.
“When the issue of Sputnik-V came up, in fact, there was a decision to go in for more vaccines because there was a scarcity of vaccines as many countries had closed their borders.
“What encouraged us to buy those vaccines was that the same vaccine was sold at $38 elsewhere, so considering that, we thought it was cheap,” he explained on Adom FM’s Burning Issues.
Mr Agyeman Manu debunked claims that his outfit rejected cheaper offers and went in for that particular deal.
“It was through the search for the vaccines that some other people offered us some, but it was some kind of take and pay which you would still have to pay even when you haven’t received yet”.
“As of now, WHO has chosen two countries which have managed the Covid-19 effectively and so many are chasing me to assist them in controlling Covid-19 just as we were able to control ours.”