It will not be surprising that President Akufo-Addo will not sanction under-fire Health Minister, Kweku Agyeman-Manu over his role in the controversial Sputnik V vaccine procurement deal.
That’s according to private legal practitioner, Martin Kpebu.
According to him, the President has never shied away from defending his appointees anytime they come under public criticism and he believes that they did not err.
The lawyer was reacting to the President’s recent comments on the embattled Agyeman-Manu while on a tour of the Bono Region.
“There are a lot of people from the Bono Region in my government; including the Minister of Health, who is currently receiving slaps [from Ghanaians]. He is an indigene of Dormaa. He has really suffered in that Health Ministry and is still suffering,” he said of the appointee while laughing together with dignitaries and others gathered at the venue.
The president’s response has created the impression to most people that he will not sanction that minister over the botched deal.
According to Martin Kpebu, although it appears to him that the President concedes that Mr. Agyeman-Manu erred, it will not be strange that Nana Akufo-Addo will not sanction him.
“So far the President has indicated clearly that Mr Agyeman Manu is guilty as charged… You know, Mr. President will not miss an opportunity to defend his appointee if need be…Anytime the public expresses their opinion and the President thinks we are wrong, he indicates so. When Joy FM did the Free SHS campaign and citizens expressed misgivings about it, he [the president] also shot back.”
“We can go on and on and give countless examples of statements the President has made in reaction to what citizens say, so it is clear to me that if the President wants to defend his minister he will do so,” the lawyer stated.
The Health Minister has come under intense criticism for breaching procurement processes while trying to secure Sputnik V vaccines for Ghana.
He signed the agreement without parliamentary or cabinet approval. He also did not seek approval from the Public Procurement Authority (PPA).
The Attorney General is on record to have advised against the deal.
The Minority in Parliament last week called on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to immediately dismiss the Minister of Health saying he is not fit to be in office.
They argue that he violated the 1992 constitution and his oath of office by trying to procure vaccines through middlemen without recourse to Parliament or cabinet.
They also took the minister on over his claim that no payment was made in the deal, when the committee’s finding pointed to the fact that money was actually paid.
Meanwhile, the intermediary businessman, Sheikh Al Maktoum who Ghana was procuring the vaccine from has agreed to refund $2.4 million of the $2.8 million paid to him as he only supplied 20,000 doses of the expected 300,000 before the contract was terminated.