The Majority in Parliament has accused the Minority of acting in bad faith with its call for the dismissal of the Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, over the botched Sputnik V contract.
Addressing the press in Parliament on Wednesday, Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo Markin, said his side is surprised by the action of the Minority since the Committee had concluded that both parties unanimously agreed on the deal.
“Our colleagues had agreed with us that we need to move on as a country and that the report by itself was by consensus. So today at the plenary, we adopted the Sputnik-V report as a House by consensus, and I think it’s good for the country.”
The Minority on Wednesday filed a motion backed by all 137 NDC MPs seeking the removal of the Health Minister from office.
In a Memo to the Speaker, the Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak, explained that the Dormaa Central MP’s action contradicts Article 191 of the 1992 Constitution.
But the Majority disagrees.
Mr Afenyo-Markin said, “So we thought that we have dealt with this issue of Sputnik-V, but we are hearing that some attempts are being made to bring a motion of censure against the Health Minister. We will be surprised to see that happening on the Floor of the House because it will amount to serious bad faith.
“That notwithstanding, we wait to see, but we have approved the report at the plenary by consensus just as the Committee at itself arrived at with its findings and recommendations.”
However, the Minority is convinced that the Health Minister is guilty of perjury, among others, when he “misrepresented to the Ad Hoc Committee under oath that no payment was made under the agreement to the Private Office of His Highness Shiek Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum [the Dubai-based businessman the Ministry of Health contacted for the procurement].”
The Committee tasked to investigate the deal, found that the amount of $2,850,000 (representing 50% of the contract sum of $5,700,000) has been paid to Messrs Al Maktoum despite the Minister claiming no payment had been made “to the best of my knowledge.”
Following the report’s release, some notable individuals called for Mr Agyeman-Manu’s head.
Private legal practitioner, Martin Kpebu also says the Minister “should have gone a long time ago.”
“You see that the report has made matters worse for him,” he explained.
The New Crusading Guide newspaper Editor-in-Chief, Kweku Baako Jnr, says the Minister has to resign.
“If he is minded to… resign, I will endorse it; I will vote for him if he were to do the honourable thing and just quit. You cannot defend this.”
Kofi Bentil on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show also stated that Mr Agyeman-Manu breached every procurement process and constitutional requirements about the contract.
Thus, the Health Minister must be sacked, he said.
But in an interview on Adom FM last week, the Health Minister gave a blow-by-blow account of what transpired during the procurement of the Sputnik-V vaccine.
According to him, the country needed vaccines urgently, although the commodity was scarce on the global market.
He further noted that the decision was tough but considering the number of lives being lost, he had to make a decision after consultation with his technical team.
“When the issue of Sputnik-V came up, there was a decision to go in for more vaccines because there was a scarcity of vaccines as many countries had closed their borders.
“What encouraged us to buy those vaccines was that the same vaccine was sold at $38 elsewhere, so considering that, we thought it was cheap,” he explained on Adom FM’s Burning Issues.
Mr Agyeman Manu debunked claims that his outfit rejected cheaper offers and went in for that particular deal.
“It was through the search for the vaccines that some other people offered us some, but it was some kind of take and pay which you would still have to pay even when you haven’t received yet”.
“As of now, WHO has chosen two countries which have managed the Covid-19 effectively, and so many are chasing me to assist them in controlling Covid-19 just as we were able to control ours.”