Sputnik V saga: Sheikh Al Maktoum refunds US$2.4m to Ghana

BY: Kweku Zurek
Sputnik V saga: Sheikh Al Maktoum refunds US$2.4m to Ghana
Sputnik V saga: Sheikh Al Maktoum refunds US$2.4m to Ghana

The Dubai businessman at the centre of the botched Sputnik V procurement deal, Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum has refunded $2.4million to the Ghanaian government.

The Sheikh in a confidential letter dated August 11, 2021, and addressed to the Chief Director of the Ministry of Health, Mr Kwabena Boadu Oku-Afari, said $2.47million has been refunded to the designated bank account provided by the Ministry.

Ghana's Ministry of Health engaged the services of the Private Office of Sheikh Al Maktoum for the supply of the Sputnik V vaccines. Ghana had already taken delivery of 20,000 out of an expected 300,000 doses.

Sheikh Al Maktoum was paid $2,850,000 for his services out of an expected $5,700,000.

The Sheikh in the letter obtained by GraphicOnline (below) also indicated that no funds had been drawn under the Letter of Credit which expired as of June 2021.

He is also expecting a payment receipt once the funds are credited to the government bank account.

The refund is minus the cost of 20,000 doses ($380,000) supplied by the businessman.

Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum, a businessman and member of the Dubai royal family in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), decided to refund the money following a request from the Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu.

The supply of the vaccines hit a snag, leading to the termination of the agreement between the businessman and Ghana's Ministry of Health in July this year.

The Health Minister is currently facing intense criticism for breaching procurement processes while trying to secure the Sputnik V vaccines and has admitted he signed the agreement without parliamentary or cabinet approvals, or the approval of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA).

He is on a two-week leave from work amidst pressure to resign over the botched procurement.

Request for refund

Prior to that, the Minister on August 2, 2021, wrote to Sheikh Al Maktoum requesting a refund of the amount paid for the doses which the businessman failed to supply to the country.

“I wish to finally accept your termination of our agreement dated 9th March, 2021 for the supply of the Sputnik-V vaccine as per your letter No. ADM/LT/GHA/00/21/101, dated 14th July, 2021.

“By this letter, I also wish to formally request for the refund of the remaining amount for the non-supplied doses, which should be the total amount paid to your office minus the amount due for the 20,000 doses you already supplied, in line with your earlier e-mail dated 25th July, 2021 in which it was affirmed that on 13th April, 2021, funds were transferred into your account as 50 per cent advance for the initial batch of 300,000 doses,” Mr Agyeman-Manu wrote.

Sheikh Al Maktoum's reply

In a response, dated August 5, 2021, and addressed to the Minister of Health, Sheikh Al Maktoum agreed to the request and asked for bank details for the effective transfer of the refund.

"We acknowledge receipt of your letter, Ref No. MOH/OM/LU/7/21, dated 2nd August, 2021, with a formal request to refund the remaining amount of the non-supplied doses from the 50 per cent advance transferred to our account.

“We hereby request to kindly acknowledge and confirm the above-mentioned amounts to be refunded, further to which we shall initiate the refund process to your bank account.

“Please share with us the bank details where the refund needs to be processed,” the letter from the businessman read.

Bank details

Following the letter from the businessman, the Ministry of Health last Monday wrote to the Ministry of Finance, asking for the bank details into which Sheikh Al Maktoum would make the refund.

“The Ministry of Health hereby requests your outfit to provide the bank details for the transfer of the amount of $2.47 million to the government of Ghana,” the letter, signed by the Chief Director of the Ministry of Health, Mr Kwabena Boadu Oku-Afari, stated.