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Sputnik V vaccine probe: Committee directs Ofori Atta to recover Gh16m paid to supplier

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The Ad-hoc committee set up by Parliament to investigate the circumstances leading to the procurement of several Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccines has directed the Minister of Finance, Hon. Ken Ofori Atta to take urgent steps to retrieve the Gh16m that was used in the botched procurement of the vaccines.

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Even though the Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman Manu, denied that no money was paid to the company despite an initial 20,000 supplied to Ghana, the committee, in its report, found that 50% of the total contract sum was actually paid.

“According to the Bank of Ghana, in its letter of 31st March, 2021, out of the total amount of US$5,700,000.00 owed to Sheikh Al Maktoum, an amount of US$2,850,000.00 representing 50% has been paid to him and that translates into a Cedi equivalent of GH¢16,331,640.00 converted at the exchange rate of US$1 to GH¢5.73,” the report said.

The committee further recommended that in future, any agreement of such nature must encompass the input and consent of all stakeholders listed in the law and taken through the appropriate procedures of Parliament before any contract is signed.

“The Agreements ensuing from the negotiations have been submitted to the PPA for ratification. ..Indeed, at the time of completing its work, PPA was yet to do the ratification. The committee urges the Minister for Finance to take steps to recover the money due to the Republic in respect of the amount of US$2,850,000.00 (Cedi equivalent of GH¢16,331,640.00) being the cost of the Sputnik-V vaccines that were proposed to be procured,” the Committee recommended.

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The committee is to present its report to the plenary for consideration and has urged the House to adopt the report.

“The committee, by consensus, recommends to the House to adopt this report.”

Background

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The decision by the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyemang Manu to unilaterally engage a private individual to procure several Sputnik V vaccines at double the price and without Parliamentary ratification earlier led to calls from public health experts and populace for the deal to be cancelled.

After a while, the Minister informed the country that the supplier had failed to supply the required number of vaccines according to the timelines specified in the agreement and as such the contract was abrogated .

The Leadership of the House put together a 9 member bipartisan committee to look into the contracts signed between the government and the private supplier for the supply of the vaccines at the onset of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

The committee, was set up to determine the appropriateness of methods used in the procurement of vaccines and to determine the cost and value of the vaccines.

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