Sputnik V vaccine: Health Minister needs empathy not chastisement – Ken Ofori-Atta

BY: Jasmine Arku
The Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta
The Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta

The Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, says instead of calls for the resignation of the Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman Manu over the botched Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine deal, Ghanaians should be more empathetic towards him.

According to him, Mr Agyeman Manu’s judgement in the deal was in the interest of Ghanaians, especially that the lives of citizens were at stake.

There have been heightened calls for the Health Minister to resign or be sacked by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo over the botched deal.

But speaking in an interview Wednesday on Accra-based radio station, Asaase Radio, the Finance Minister, who has also been criticised for his role in the deal, described as unfair the treatment being meted out to the Health Minister.

According to him, Ghanaians must “move on” especially after the Sheikh agreed to refund $2.47 million (about GH¢14.4 million) to the country.

Read also: Sputnik V vaccine: Sheikh Maktoum agrees to refund $2.4m to Ghana

“The people [middlemen] have said they can’t supply the vaccines; which means that they have broken the contract, and then we get our $2 million back, and then we move on," he said.

“But to be so unsympathetic to somebody who felt that what can he do to ensure that there is continuity. And to sit now comfortably to chastise him without empathizing with him; I am empathetic of him, and I expect that others will also realize the type of pressure that he was under at the time and his commitment to ensuring that Ghanaians are safe.

“I got a number of interviews by a lot of European media outlets, and I asked them; you sit there and ask me why I am paying more for vaccines when you are hoarding those vaccines, and I have one out of a hundred people being vaccinated whereas you have eighty over a hundred, and then you sit there and ask me why are you doing this,” he said.

Read also: Sputnik V procurement deal, Finance Minister too must go - Sammy Gyamfi

He however gave the assurance that his ministry would retrieve the monies which were paid to Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum.

"The issue is will we get our money back and we will. It will be my responsibility to make sure that I get the money back."

Meanwhile, President Akufo-Addo has said the Health Minister has endured a lot of suffering at the Ministry but remains resolute.

Speaking in the Bono Region on Tuesday, August 10, 2021, during his two-day tour of the region, President Akufo-Addo singled out the Health Minister as one of the illustrious sons from the Bono Region who has served well in his administration.

Listen to the Finance Minister below;