Deputy Editor for the Dispatch newspaper, Peter Ankomah has expressed disappointment in the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyemang Manu, for failing to do due diligence before contracting a middleman to procure COVID-19 vaccines for the country.
He said the minister, a seasoned accountant, should not have gone contrary to the law while attempting to procure does of Sputnik V vaccines in a bid to manage Ghana’s COVID-19 cases.
The Dormaa Central Legislator is been hounded by analysts and social media users to resign after he made headlines within the week for signing the contract without Parliamentary approval.
Agyemang Manu also admitted failing to seek cabinet and approval before engaging a private individual for the procurement of Sputnik V vaccines.
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 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,” Manu said.
Calls have been intensified to get the Health Minister fired as Ghana’s COVID-19 cases are soaring recently but, as is expected, he is being defended by his party– the NPP.
However sharing thoughts on the matter on the Morning Update on TV XYZ, Peter Ankomah noted that he was shocked at the responses of the Minister when he appeared before the committee.
“Some of the things he said were quite unfortunate especially when he has a rich accounting background,” Ankomah told host Eric Ahianyo.
He wondered how the minister refused to involve the country’s Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) to confirm the vaccine’s efficacy before signing the contract.
“How can a Health Minister with varied experience procure vaccines with FDA approval?” he wondered.