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Saturday, November 27, 2021

I don’t have any image in Ghana now – Health Minister [Audio]

Health Minister, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu

Embattled Health Minister, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, has expressed sadness over the backlash he received over the botched Sputnik V vaccine deal.

According to him, he now has no image in Ghana over the deal though he acted in the interest of Ghana in discharging his core mandate.

Mr Agyemang-Manu made this known on the Floor of Parliament on Wednesday, during the debate on the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy.

“Mr Speaker, I am so amazed. When I was rushing to get some vaccines to do vaccinations quickly to meet our development targets, I was found culpable of not coming to Parliament and I was lambasted to the extent that now I don’t have any image in this country,” he sadly told the House.

This was after the Ranking Member on the Health Committee, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, stated the country’s vaccination process has been slow.

The deal sparked controversies after a Norwegian newspaper, VG, reported that the Government of Ghana had engaged the services of middlemen to procure 3.4 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik-V vaccines.

But this was at a higher cost of $19 other than the original factory price of $10, a development that called for a probe into the deal amid calls for the Minister’s resignation and dismissal.

The ad-hoc bipartisan parliamentary committee that was set up to probe the deal uncovered that the Health Ministry did not receive Cabinet approval for the deal.

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However, the outfit argued it sought a businessman rather than seeking to obtain the vaccines on a government-to-government basis because although it is cheaper, it is difficult to push through.

It, therefore, among other things recommended that the Finance Minister takes steps to recover over $2 million paid to an Emirati middleman, Sheikh Ah Makhtoum for undelivered vaccines.

However, the contract was terminated after Sheikh Maktoum stated that “he is struggling to get the vaccines due to global shortage.”

Listen to the Minister in the audio above:

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