Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, has opened up on his role in the botched Sputnik V vaccines procurement after the money initially paid in the controversial deal was refunded.
The Minister who has come under fire amidst calls for his resignation or dismissal over the messy agreement says, since his appointment, he has been “guided by the mandate to protect the public purse at all times and as a Minister of Health, [he had a duty to] also safeguard Ghanaian lives especially during this pandemic.”
Mr. Agyeman-Manu said this in a statement following what he said is his observation of the high level national interest that has greeted the narrative of his efforts to secure Sputnik-V vaccines for the country.
He also confirmed that the $2,470,000 has been refunded to the National Treasury by Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum, the UAE-based middle man at the center of the procurement fiasco.
“The money is now available to the Ministry of Health for the purpose of purchasing much needed vaccines to meet the President’s target of 20 million vaccinations by the end of this year”, the Minister added.
In the meantime, the Health Minister has given assurances that his outfit is working assiduously to access vaccines to win the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I wish to thank all Ghanaians for your support in this matter and to assure you that together we will defeat the virus of COVID-19”, the Minister’s statement mentioned in parts.
Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, has faced intense criticism after an ad hoc committee of Parliament concluded that he entered into the Sputnik V deal without approval from the relevant institutions.
It also recommended, among other things, that the Finance Minister takes steps to recover the over $2 million paid to Sheikh Ah Maktoum for undelivered vaccines. The money has subsequently been refunded.
Other groups and individuals have asked the Attorney General to initiate criminal proceedings against the embattled minister.
There are those who still believe, the refund is not enough and that Mr. Agyeman-Manu must be penalized for his inactions.
In the meantime, the Health Minister is currently on a two-week leave to attend to ‘personal issues’.