The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyemang Manu, has admitted that he failed to seek cabinet and parliamentary approval before engaging a private individual for the procurement of Sputnik V vaccines in a bid to manage Ghana’s COVID-19 cases.
Answering questions from the bi-partisan parliamentary committee probing the controversial Sputnik V vaccine procurement, Mr. Manu said the urgent and critical nature of the circumstances at the time, did not permit him to use the right channels.
“I relied on the Executive Instrument 61 which was passed by Parliament to hide behind the emergency clauses that had been invoked to try to see that if I could do that [procure the vaccines], and later inform Parliament that this is what I had done, and I needed regularisation,” the Minister explained.
According to him, he engaged Sheikh Al-Maktoum before making attempts to get the vaccines from the right source.
“I was seriously in a situation that could not make me think properly. I could have done that [seek parliamentary approval], but the circumstances at the time were a bit different. I dealt with the Sheikh before the frantic efforts to get the vaccines from the right source. I made efforts, but I did not juxtapose the timing with the efforts that I made. I made that error and in hindsight, it won’t happen again.”
He also indicated that the controversial deal was not approved by Cabinet.
The Minister of Health has already told the bi-partisan committee that the company that agreed to supply Ghana with the overpriced Sputnik V vaccines has terminated the contract it had with the country.
Under the said contract, Ghana was to receive 3.4 million doses of Sputnik V Vaccines at a unit cost of 19 dollars as against the ex-factory price of 10 dollars per dose. Appearing before the nine-member committee in Parliament on Thursday, July 15, 2021, Agyeman Manu said the contract was terminated because Sheik Al Makhtoum could not supply the vaccines as promised.
The Health Minister also admitted that the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), was not engaged to test the efficacy of the controversial 3.4 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik-V vaccines which the country was expecting.
He said his outfit operated on the earlier notification by the Authority that the vaccine had been approved for use all over the world.
Asked whether the FDA had been neglected in the process, the Minister responded in the affirmative, saying he “did not know of any government institution that has asked the FDA to do this [efficacy test of the vaccines]”.