The Minority in Parliament has warned that the government’s move to buy 3.4million doses of the Russian Sputnik V coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine is illegal and must be aborted.
At a press conference in Accra on Thursday, Minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu, said the vaccine supply agreement that the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyemang Manu, had signed with Emirati middleman, Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum, violates the constitution, specifically Article 181 (5) of the 1992 Constitution which requires Parliamentary approval for international agreements of this nature.
“We the minority believe that this contract is not in the interest of Ghanaians and whether payments have been made or not, the contract is null and void and government must as a matter of urgency put in the necessary steps to abrogate the contract. We also intend to explore further avenues under our Constitution and Standing Orders to hold the Health Minister accountable for this graft of international proportions,” Hon. Iddrisu said.
It would be recalled that after questions had arisen over the government’s decision to order the Russian vaccine through the office of Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum, cousin to the Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum, the Minister had justified the arrangement.
According to Kwaku Agyemang Manu, the Ministry had gone on with the arrangement because it was impossible to source the vaccine directly from the Russian government and that Ghanaians ought to have been thankful for the Ministry’s arrangement.
The disagreeable stance of the Ministry is premised on the fact that the will cost Ghana between US$19 and US$26 per dose while the Russians supply it directly to countries at US$10 per dose through its outlet, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF).
The Minority has pooh-poohed the claim by the Minister saying among other things that its own investigations show that Kwaku Agyemang Manu lied when he made the claims at a June 16, 2021 press conference.
“This argument by the Minister is unconvincing to the Ghanaian populace…
Indeed, WHO has warned all countries including Ghana to desist from the purchase of vaccines using intermediaries because it tends resulting in sub-standard vaccines that can be harmful to our compatriots,” the Minority said.
They pointed out that in any case, there still exist other channels such as the WHO, UNICEF, GAVI, COVAX, etc. that can assist Ghana to obtain standard and safe vaccines set at a price far lower than the US$19 per dose rip-off.
“The Minority’s own investigations into this Sputnik V scandal is that the Russian authorities have at all times been willing to deal directly with Ghana contrary to what the Akufo-Addo government has been claiming. Indeed our checks indicate that the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) has opened direct engagements with over 30 Governments as at February this year including African countries such as Kenya, Rwanda, Tunisia, Guinea and Algeria. We have a copy of a statement RDIF issued in Moscow confirming this fact,” the Minority stated.