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Politics of Thursday, 22 July 2021


Sputnik V deal: Health Minister needs a psychologist - Allotey Jacobs

Bernard Allotey Jacobs, former NDC Central Regional Chairman Bernard Allotey Jacobs, former NDC Central Regional Chairman

Bernard Allotey Jacobs has taken a shot at the Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu over his comments during a Parliamentary probe into the purchase of Sputnik V vaccine.

Ghana was going to procure the Sputnik V vaccine at a unit cost of 19 US dollars as against the ex-factory price of 10 US dollars per dose.

The agreement was to be secured through a middleman, Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum and SL Global to supply 3.4 million doses of Sputnik V vaccine to the country.

But this agreement was done without Parliamentary approval and therefore called for a Parliamentary probe.

Facing a Parliamentary Committee on the matter, the Health Minister explained why he didn't seek approval, saying, “I was in a desperate and helpless situation with the management of the covid numbers. In February, we had 78 deaths; by March, we had 56 deaths, and these were the numbers that pushed me to act . . . if you were the Health Minister, I think you might have taken certain decisions that in hindsight you may not have done those things. The country was not in normal times . . . this was the environment I found myself in and out of desperation, frustration, and so many things".

He added, “I relied on the Executive Instrument 61 passed by Parliament and hid behind emergency clauses that have been invoked to do that and come to Parliament and inform the House that this is what I had done and, therefore, I need regularisation and need the approval to provide it.

“I was seriously in a situation that could not make me think properly. I dealt with the Sheikh before the frantic efforts to get the vaccines from the right source. I made efforts, but I did not juxtapose the timing with the efforts that I made. I made that error and in hindsight, it won’t happen again.”

Assessing the statements by the Minister, Allotey Jacobs believed he (Minister) has a psychological problem and must be provided with a psychologist.

"At this time of the little controversies happening in Ghana where the government is under attack from the opposition and so-called CSOs, then comes the Minister in Parliament saying that I didn't think properly, it means that the Ministry of Health doesn't have a psychologist. He needs a psychologist . . . You come and sit in the face of cameras to tell the whole Ghanaians that I didn't think properly . . . No, it's not good at all," he told host Kwami Sefa Kayi on Peace FM's 'Kokrokoo'.