Cassiel Ato Forson, a ranking Member of Parliament’s Finance Committee, has alleged that that government paid GH¢16 million for Sputnik V vaccines from Russia.
According to him, this is in sharp contrast to assertions held by the Health Minister who insists that no money has been paid.
Dr Forson further emphasized that captured in the budget was the fact that the money was used to pay 50% of the vaccine doses requested.
His comments follow Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu’s assertion that no monies have been paid to middlemen who signed contracts with government for the supplies.
“On page 109 appendix 4e, clearly, it says that they have paid for Sputnik doses. That is 50% of the supply of Sputnik vaccines. We were told that so far they have not paid any amount to Sputnik.
“But, this budget tells us that between January to June, they have released an amount of GH¢16 million for the purposes of Sputnik vaccines”.Dr Cassiel Ato Forson
The Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam legislator further noted that, this clearly reveals that there is a contradiction between what Parliament has been told about the acquisition of vaccines and what has been done.
He stated that despite the fact that no money has been paid, a total of 20,000 doses of the Sputnik vaccines have been supplied to the country.
Payment of monies for Sputnik V vaccines
Mr Agyemang-Manu also noted that the government will take necessary measures to pay for the doses that the country received from the company.
However, Dr Forson has called on the Minister of Health to re-appear before Parliament and provide the appropriate details of the transaction.
“Clearly our Minister is cutting expenditures at the wrong places”.Dr Cassiel Ato Forson
He further alleged that the budget statement reveals that the government has made a down payment for the supply of Johnson and Johnson vaccines.
“I am a Member of Parliament, they have paid 109 million cedis, I am not aware that this august House has approved any amount for the purposes”.Dr Cassiel Ato Forson
Dr Forson further called on the Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta to furnish Parliament with the necessary details.
Calls for resignation of Health Minister
Earlier this month, the African Center for Health Policy Research and Analysis revealed that the Health Minister must resign as a result of the botched procurement of Sputnik V vaccines.
Executive Director of the Center, Dr. Thomas Anaba, explained that in spite of the country not being in normal times, breaching procurement laws is inexcusable.
“I think he should honourably resign, or the President should sack him.Dr. Thomas Anaba
“In Malawi, ministers have been sent to prison. In South Africa, Ministers have been sacked because of COVID. How can we allow this blatant disregard for constitutional norms and procurement laws by somebody who knows better than all of us when it comes to procurement?
“He headed the Public Accounts Committee for four years, and he reprimanded people who committed blunders. How can he be forgiven”?Dr. Thomas Anaba