Parliament order Ofori-Atta to recover ¢16m spent on Russian-made ‘overpriced’ vaccine

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Ken Ofori-Atta, the finance minister, has been asked by the nine-member bipartisan ad hoc committee of Parliament probing the procurement deal of the controversial Sputnik V vaccine to take the necessary steps to recover the total amount of US$2,850,000 spent on the procurement of the Russian-made vaccine.

The committee in their report noted that about 50 percent of the total contract sum of money was paid by the Ministry of Health even though Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, the health minister had stated when he appeared before the committee that, no money was paid to the intermediaries the ministry engaged.

“According to the Bank of Ghana, in its letter of 31st March, 2021, out of the total amount of US$5,700,000.00 owed to Sheikh Al Maktoum, an amount of US$2,850,000.00 representing 50% has been paid to him and that translates into a Cedi equivalent of GH¢16,331,640.00 converted at the exchange rate of US$1 to GH¢5.73,” excerpts of the committee’s report sighted by Citi FM said.

The Ministry of Health, according to the committee did not comply with the requirements of Article 181(5) of the Constitution in respect of its agreement with an intermediary, Messrs Al Maktoum and further determined that the agreements entered into were without prior approval by the Public Procurement Authority under Sections 40 and 41 of Act 663.

“The Agreements ensuing from the negotiations have been submitted to the PPA for ratification…Indeed, at the time of completing its work, PPA was yet to do the ratification.”

“The committee urges the Minister for Finance to take steps to recover the money due to the Republic in respect of the amount of US$2,850,000.00 (Cedi equivalent of GH¢16,331,640.00) being the cost of the Sputnik-V vaccines that were proposed to be procured,” the Committee recommended.

The report of the committee is to be presented to the plenary for consideration. The committee has, however, urged the House to adopt the report.

“The committee, by consensus, recommends to the House to adopt this report.”

Source: ghanaweb