GhanaHeadlineHealthPublic Procurement Act

Health Minister’s leave granted on 28 July for two weeks beginning 16 August

The Office of the President granted the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, a two-week leave of absence (16-30 August 2021) that he requested on 28 July 2021

Asaase Radio can confirm that the Office of the President granted the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, leave he requested on 28 July 2021.

The period of his requested leave was for two weeks, between 16 and 30 August 2021. Agyeman-Manu will resume his duties as Health Minister on 31 August 2021, directly after his leave. The minister’s leave of absence is to enable him to “deal with pressing constituency and family issues”.

There has been speculation that the Health Minister has requested leave because of political pressure over the role he played in the botched Sputnik V vaccine procurement contract.

Reacting to recommendations by the Alexander Afenyo-Markin-led ad-hoc parliamentary committee set up to investigate the controversial Sputnik V vaccine deal, OccupyGhana, for instance, has said it does not believe the emergency created by the COVID pandemic was sufficient reason for the Health Minister to breach the country’s procurement laws.

“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,” said a statement by OccupyGhana dated 9 August.

Refund request

The Health Minister has also written officially to Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum requesting a refund to the Government of Ghana of the “remaining amount for the non-supplied doses” of Sputnik V vaccines.

Sheikh Al Maktoum was due to supply roughly 300,000 Sputnik V vaccines under an agreement signed with the government, but his company delivered only 20,000.

The parliamentary ad-hoc committee set up to investigate the controversial Sputnik V vaccine deal has ordered the Minister for Finance to retrieve the $2.85 million (GHC16,331,640) paid to Sheikh Al Maktoum as part payment to procure the 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,” says the letter, dated 2 August 2021 and signed by the minister.

“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 adds.

Response by UAE agent

In response to the Health Minister’s letter, Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum, the United Arab Emirates-based agent in Ghana’s attempt to procure Sputnik V vaccines, has agreed to refund the sum of US$2.47 million to the Government of Ghana.

This is the remainder of the payment made for the doses of Sputnik V not supplied.

The letter addressed to the Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, and signed by Sheikh Al Maktoum says that “we shall initiate the refund process to your bank account”.

Wilberforce Asare

Asaase Radio 99.5 – tune in or log on to broadcasts online
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