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Politics of Thursday, 22 July 2021


Sputnik V probe: It's premature for Health Minister to resign - Sam Pyne

NPP Ashanti Regional Secretary, Sam Pyne NPP Ashanti Regional Secretary, Sam Pyne

Ashanti Regional Secretary of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), Sam Pyne has dissented to the calls on Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu to resign from office.

There are calls for the Health Minister to vacate his office or be sacked by President Nana Akufo-Addo following his responses to a Parliamentary Committee probe into the purchase of Sputnik V vaccine.

Answering questions before the Committee, the Minister said, “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."

“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,” he added.

Critics like seasoned journalist Kweku Baako, politicians; James Kwabena Bomfeh and Allotey Jacobs have all called for the Minister to resign or his dismissal to be effected by the President.

But to Sam Pyne, it's premature for the Minister's head to roll.

He asked if the Minister's action has caused any financial losses to the State for which he should resign.

Sam Pyne asked for the Committee's final report regarding the issue before any punitive action is taken against Kwaku Agyeman-Manu.

"In condemning or in applauding, we should wait for the Committee to finish its work," he asserted.

He said this during a panel discussion on Peace FM's ''Kokrokoo''.