The African Center for Health Policy Research and Analysis believes the Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, must no longer be at post after he side-stepped due process in the botched procurement of Sputnik V vaccines.
“I think he should honourably resign, or the President should sack him,” Executive Director of the Center, Dr Thomas Anaba, said in a Citi News interview.
Answering questions from the bi-partisan parliamentary committee probing the controversial Sputnik V vaccine procurement, Mr Agyeman-Manu, who is a board member of the GAVI Vaccine Alliance, admitted that he did not seek Cabinet and parliamentary approval before engaging a private individual for the procurement of Sputnik V vaccines
He said he was overwhelmed by the urgency of the situation.
In addition, the Food and Drugs Authority was not engaged to test the efficacy of the vaccine as was done for the AstraZeneca Vaccine which is in use in Ghana.
Dr Anaba stressed that despite Ghana not being in normal times, breaching procurement laws is inexcusable.
“In Malawi, ministers have been sent to prison. In South Africa, Ministers have been sacked because of COVID. How can we allow this blatant disregard for constitutional norms and procurement laws by somebody who knows better than all of us when it comes to procurement?
“He headed the Public Accounts Committee for four years, and he reprimanded people who committed blunders. How can he be forgiven?” he asked.
The Minister of Health also told the bi-partisan committee that the company that agreed to supply Ghana with the overpriced Sputnik V vaccines has terminated the contract it had with the country.
Under the said contract, Ghana was to receive 3.4 million doses of Sputnik V Vaccines at a unit cost of $19 instead of the ex-factory price of $10 per dose.
The issue first came to light when a Norweigian news outlet, Verdens Gang, reported that Ghana had requested to purchase the doses of the Sputnik V vaccine through two businessmen who are selling it to Ghana at $19 per dose instead of the $10 per dose on the international market.
The initial price quoted for the vaccine was US$25, but it was negotiated downwards to US$19, according to the Ghana Health Service.