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General News of Friday, 10 September 2021


Sputnik V saga: I was misled – Okoe Boye on claims that government made no payment

Former Deputy Minister of Health, Dr. Bernard Okoe-Boye Former Deputy Minister of Health, Dr. Bernard Okoe-Boye

• Dr Bernard Okoe Boye has apologized for defending initial claims that the government of Ghana paid no money in the botched Sputnik V contract

• According to the former Deputy Minister he was misled

• A nine-member Parliamentary ad-hoc committee found that the government paid an initial amount of US$2,850,000.00 for the supply of the vaccines

Former Minister of Health, Dr Bernard Okoe Boye has stated that he was misled into defending claims that the government of Ghana had not made any financial commitments in the controversial Sputnik V Vaccine procurement.

The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman Manu, following public uproar on the terms of the procurement indicated that no money had been paid to the company contracted for the supply of the vaccines despite the country receiving an initial 20,000 doses of the vaccines.

Following a Parliamentary ad-hoc committee finding which revealed that an amount of US$2,850,000.00, representing 50% of the contract amount had been paid to the suppliers, Mr Okoe Boye speaking on Metro TV on Thursday, September 9, 2021, said he was sorry for defending that no financial commitment had been made in the deal sometime back.

“At the time I was speaking, all the information we had been given from the Ministry was that they had not made any payment and commitment. It was a letter of credit that will be activated only when the goods were shipped. After the Minister spoke, the work the committee did show that, that impression we were given from the Ministry was not the case. So Randy, if anybody says Doc, apologise for that it is in order. That is the one that based on the information I was given, it was not right..... it is true I was wrong, I was misled,” he stated.

Empanelled with the National Communication Officer of the NDC, Sammy Gyamfi on the Thursday edition of Good Morning Ghana, Mr Okoe and the NDC executive had a back and forth on the government’s earlier position on the vaccine procurement which was later reversed.

The government of Ghana as part of its vaccine procurement in the fight against COVID-19 acquired the services of a Saudi middleman, Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum for the procurement of some 3.4 million doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccines.

Pegged at $19 per dose, the contract attracted calls for its abrogation as some critics argued that the contract was a rip-off being carried out on the state because the ex-factory price for the vaccine is pegged at $10.

The concerns raised on the Sputnik vaccine procurement led to a bi-partisan committee being set up to probe the contract.

The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman Manu, when he appeared before the committee admitted that he did not seek cabinet and parliamentary approval before engaging the private individual for the procurement of Sputnik V vaccines.

The committee in its final report among other things disclosed that the amount of $2,850,000.00 was actually paid to the supplier despite the Minister’s contrary claims.

“According to the Bank of Ghana, in its letter of 31st March 2021, out of the total amount of US$5,700,000.00 owed to Sheikh Al Maktoum, an amount of US$2,850,000.00 representing 50% has been paid to him and that translates into a Cedi equivalent of GH¢16,331,640.00 converted at the exchange rate of US$1 to GH¢5.73,” excerpts of the committee’s report read.

As part of its recommendations, the Minister of Finance was tasked to recover the paid amount while a public conversation on calls for the resignation of the Health Minister generated.

Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum has since refunded some $2.4 million being the amount for the unsupplied vaccines to the government of Ghana following the cancellation of the contract.

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