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Health minister to Sheikh Maktoum: Refund money for non-supplied Sputnik V doses

Kwaku Agyeman-Manu has made an official request to retrieve US$2.85 million paid to Sheikh Al Maktoum as part payment to procure Sputnik V vaccines

The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, has officially written to Sheikh Al Maktoum to refund to the government of Ghana the “remaining amount for the non-supplied doses” of Sputnik V vaccines.

Sheikh Al Maktoum was due to supply about 300, 000 Sputnik V vaccines in an agreement signed with the government, however, his outfit only delivered 20,000 doses.

The Parliamentary ad-hoc committee set up to investigate the controversial Sputnik V vaccine deal, has ordered the finance minister to retrieve the US$2.85 million (GHC16,331,640) paid to Sheikh Al Maktoum as part payment to procure Sputnik V vaccines.

“By this letter, I also wish to formally request for the refund of the remaining amount for the non-supplied doses, which should be the total amount paid to your office, minus the amount due for the 20, 000 doses you already supplied, in line with your earlier email dated 25 July 2021 in which it was affirmed that on the 13 April 2021 funds were transferred into your accounts as 50% advance for the initial batch of 300, 000 doses,” the letter dated 2 August 2021 and signed by the minister said.

“It would be very much appreciated if the amount is transferred back into the sending bank account as per the earlier swift advice dated 9 April 2021,” the letter added.

“We’ll retrieve the cash”

The Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, has promised to recover the $2.85 million (GHC16,331,640) given to Sheikh Al Maktoum.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Asaase Radio‘s Beatrice Adu on The Big Bulletin, Ofori-Atta acknowledged it was his responsibility to retrieve monies used towards procuring the Sputnik V vaccines and guaranteed that his ministry will do so.

“We will always get our money back … I think it’s just so little empathy in appreciating what my colleague minister might have been going through when you have been sworn in with a mandate to protect the health of people …” Ofori-Atta said.

“I’m not sure he had no other choice with the way he acted,” Ofori-Atta said, adding, “Would we get our money back? And we would. It would be my responsibility to get the money back and I would.”

Pressure to resign

Meanwhile, the pressure group, OccupyGhana, has called for the resignation or dismissal of Agyeman-Manu over the botched Sputnik V vaccine procurement contract.

Reacting to the recommendations of the Alexander Afenyo-Markin-led ad-hoc parliamentary committee set up to investigate the controversial Sputnik V vaccine deal, OccupyGhana said it does not believe the emergency situation created by the pandemic was sufficient reason for the health minister to breach the law.

“We do not think that the emergency situation created by the pandemic and the urgency required, constituted sufficient reasons to bypass all of these steps that are required by law. As Parliament has indicated, it would have acted with the speed and urgency that the emergency required, had the request for approval been made to it,” OccupyGhana’s statement dated 9 August 2021 said.

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