Abdul Malik Kweku Baako, the Editor-in-Chief of the Crusading Guide Newspaper has urged the government to terminate the agreement it has with a company owned by the Dubai Sheikh for the purchase of Sputnik V vaccines.
The deal between Ghana and the company has become a subject of discussion after it emerged that the country paid almost twice the market price for the vaccines.
Speaking on Metro TV’s Good Evening Ghana program, Kweku Baako said his checks indicate a number of constitutional and procurement breaches in the deal.
He mentioned that a piece of advice by the Attorney-General to the government for the deal to be sent to parliament was disregarded by the Ministry of Health.
“I’m still not convinced, especially relative to the Sheikh deal. They’ve signed it and virtually executed it but I’m aware that Attorney-General had advised that the particular deal required parliamentary approval and should go to parliament. My checks with parliament indicate no such agreement has been brought. Maybe it may be sent. I have difficulty with that and I have called for it to be reviewed or terminated because of the breach of Article 181 (5).
“It appears we are dealing with other sources. It appears the advice from the Attorney-General was that we must deal with the manufacturers or certified agents of the manufacturers and that the Sheikh’s private office is neither of those things. So there is a complication there too, apart from the constitutional element, there is also the question of who are you dealing with and that the Russians indicated that you could deal with manufacturers or certified agents.
“On the basis of all these parameters and the fact that we are dealing with others that aren’t too public, we are not sure so I called for all the agreement and contacts we’ve made so that we can examine them properly. As much as I realized the urgency and emergency of all these things to the extent of rescuing Ghanaians but that’s no excuse to breach all procurement requirements.
“After doing some little research, I consider this whole thing untidy and I’m being charitable with my choice of words, my position is that they need to re-examine. As for the Sheikh one, they need to drop it. It doesn’t qualify on all the legs I’ve established in terms of the constitution, in terms of dealing with certified agents or the manufacturers. It doesn’t qualify.”
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health has defended its decision to use middlemen to purchase the vaccine.
Addressing a press conference in Accra Wednesday, June 16, 2021, the minister said: “We had to write to the Foreign Minister of Russia, we wrote to the Health Minister of Russia, we wrote to the Trade Minister of Russia, trying to see how best they can facilitate us to do bilateral engagements so we could buy Sputnik from the source.
“All these didn’t yield any responses and no significant results to the extent that we even invited the Deputy Ambassador of Russia for the engagement and he couldn’t facilitate our move. We, therefore, had no other option than to try to engage middlemen to see how best we can get the vaccines.”
“Whatever it is, we may have to procure and so far as we are not getting bilateral engagements to do, we wouldn’t have options than to continue to engage middlemen to some limited extent,” he stated.