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General News of Wednesday, 9 June 2021


Agyemang Manu, Al Maktoum, Morten Hansen: The faces behind alleged overpriced Sputnik V vaccines

Health Minister Kwaku Agyemang Manu Health Minister Kwaku Agyemang Manu

• It has emerged that Ghana bought the Sputnik V vaccines twice the market value

• This increment is allegedly due to the use of middlemen one of which is a Norwegian who is on the run

• Government is alleged to have bought the vaccines from Sheikh Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum

In April this year, the government announced that it was expecting about a million doses of Russia's Sputnik V vaccines.

Refreshing news it was, but how did government procure the vaccine? The vaccine of course is made in Russia but through which entity did was the government going to purchase the vaccines? Who was leading the government’s charge to get the vaccines?

A report by Norwegian tabloid Verden Gang provides some context and perspective to the conversation.

In the investigative report, three names feature prominently, Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum, a member of the royal family of Dubai, Morten Hansen described as an intermediary in the deal and Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, Ghana’s Minister of Health.

Through the cooperation of this trio, Ghana managed to secure a deal that was going to see us get 3.4 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccines.

What were their roles?

At the apex of the triangle is Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum of Dubai. He is the one with vaccines Ghana so badly needed and purchased at almost twice the known market value.

Per the report, Al Maktoum is labelled as a ‘peripheral family member’ of the Dubai Royal family whose quantity of wealth is unknown.

So how did a ‘second cousin’ of the ruler of Dubai became a ‘vaccine Lord’ in whose hands Ghana’s race to acquire much-needed vaccines lie?

Here is an explanation from the article: “VG HAS GAINED access to documents from another African country where the Sheikh has attempted to sell vaccines. There, the chain through which the vaccines have travelled is described.

“The Russians sell their vaccines through their national Investment Fund (RDIF). The fund has established a company in Russia called Human Vaccine LLC.

“However, Human Vaccine LLC has also appointed the anonymous and recently established company Aurugulf Health Investment LLC in Dubai as an “exclusive seller and distributor of Human Vaccine’s Sputnik V” in several countries in Africa and Asia. Aurugulf has, in turn, hired the Sheik’s private enterprise as its sales agent.”

How does this unknown firm of the Sheikh sell its vaccines to countries including Ghana? In comes the alleged money launderer and Norwegian national Motern Hansen.

Hansen's history as per the article does not make for a good read and one may wonder if the government of Ghana did any background checks before engaging him.

“Currently, Hansen is indicted for aggravated money laundering following a fraud case in Belgium.

“The police links Hansen to the efforts to secure proceeds of NOK 17 million. Hansen denies guilt.

“Hansen is also embroiled in a longstanding dispute with the Norwegian tax authorities, that are demanding more than NOK 20 million from him and are attempting to seize a home in Holmenkollen and a cottage in Kragerø.

“The authorities believe both are actually owned by Hansen, though they are formally listed in the name of a friend of his”.

These are but just the four introductory paragraphs about the man who helped broker the deal.

So who represented the Republic of Ghana? Cue in: Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, a professional accountant and the current leader of Ghana’s Health system.

His role was to procure the vaccines and as per the report his office was contacted to answer some of the allegations but no response was received.

“The Ministry of Health has not responded to any questions. However, as VG is about to leave the country, a phone call is received from the Ministry of Finance, requesting a visit from VG.”

Having refused to speak during the investigation process, the ministry is now willing to speak. MoH says it will "issue a release to address its processes" of procuring the Russian vaccines.

The report indicates that government allegedly bought the vaccines at $20 per jab instead of $10.

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