Minister admits contract for vaccines was without parliamentary approval

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The Health Minister, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, has admitted that the contract between the Ministry and Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum for the supply of Sputnik V vaccines was without parliamentary approval.

He explained that the Ministry was desperate to get the vaccines and frustrated because the regular vaccine supply sources had failed during the heat of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr Agyeman-Manu said this when he appeared before a Parliamentary Probe into the procurement contracts between Ghana and Sheikh Al Maktoum and one other for the supply of Sputnik-V COVID-19 vaccines.

On Thursday, July 15, 2021, the Minister informed Parliament that government’s contract with middle-man, Sheikh Al Maktoum, to supply the country with Sputnik V vaccines had been terminated.

He said the businessman wrote to the Ministry on Wednesday, July 14, to terminate the contract.

Mr Agyeman-Manu also explained that the rising cases in infections and deaths forced him to disregard the procedures in signing the contract to procure Sputnik V vaccines.

“I was in a desperate and helpless situation with the management of the Covid numbers. In February, we had 78 deaths; by March, we had 56 deaths, and these were the numbers that pushed me to act,” he said.

Mr Agyeman-Manu said he had to rely on the Executive Instrument 61 passed by Parliament and hide behind the emergency clauses that had been invoked to do that.

“I had plans to come to seek approval from the House after I have signed the contract. But [due to] my frustrations to try to get vaccines for us at the heat of the second wave, I relied on the Executive Instrument 61 passed by Parliament and hid behind emergency clauses that have been invoked to do that.”

“And I come to Parliament and informed the House that this is what I had done and, therefore, I need regularisation and approval to provide it,” he said.

Mr Agyeman-Manu assured the public that the Ministry would no longer proceed with any procurement without parliamentary approval.

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