‘I’m even getting more confused’ – Health Minister sweats at Sputnik-V c’tee hearing
The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyemang Manu, on Monday, July 19 appeared before the nine-member bi-partisan committee set up by Parliament to probe the botched contract between the government of Ghana and Emirati middleman Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum to procure Sputnik V vaccines.
It was the second time the Minister was appearing before the committee after he did so on the first day of sitting on Thursday, July 15.
However, when a question was posed to the Minister regarding who first approached who for the supply of the overpriced vaccines to Ghana, there was confusion following his answer.
Mr Agyeman Manu, who is also Member of Parliament for Dormaa Central, told the committee that he, first, contacted the office of the Sheikh via phone, in contrast to his press statement on Wednesday, June 9 that the Office of the Sheikh rather approached the government.
“I don’t see where this confusion arises,” he told the committee. “Maybe, let me go further to explain. The initial contact to the Sheikh was on phone call. In my desperation to get vaccines, when my normal channels were failing, I was talking to people, Ghanaians and I can’t remember who really gave me the indication of the likely supplies from Al Maktoum.”
But after indicating that he had called the Sheikh’s office, the Chair of the Committee sought to clarify the issues to the Minister.
Mr Agyemang Manu later said: “Honourable Chair, I think I am even getting the more confused. . .I think I am even getting a little bit more confused.”
But Chair of the Committee Alexander Afenyo-Markin insisted the “use of certain words within the context of law and the use of certain words within the context of public communication have to be reconciled so that nobody questions your credibility or that we are not also left in doubt”.
The committee is probing the circumstances under which government entered a deal with the Sheikh without Parliamentary approval to procure the vaccines at $19 per dose instead of the factory price of $10.
The contract has since been terminated, according to the Health Minister.