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Minority initiates moves for removal of Health Minister Agyeman-Manu

BY: Nana Konadu Agyeman
Minority initiates moves for removal of Health Minister Agyeman-Manu
Minority initiates moves for removal of Health Minister Agyeman-Manu

The Minority in Parliament has initiated moves for the removal of Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu as the Minister of Health.

The Minority has therefore filed a motion for a vote of censure for the House to pass a vote of no confidence Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu as the Minister of Health.

Their reason is that Mr Agyeman-Manu signed the contract agreement between the government and Sheik Ahmed Al Maktoum for the procurement and supply of 3.4 million doses of Sputnik vaccines at the unit cost of $19 per dose.

To the Minority, although the deal was of an international one, the minister did not seek prior approval of Parliament contrary to article 181 of the 1992 Constitution.

Besides, it accused the minister of signing the procurement agreement with the private office of Sheik Al Maktoum and S. L. Global Limited without the prior approval of Parliament or the board of the Public Procurement Authority under sections 40 and 41 of the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 673).

This, they said constituted a criminal offense under the law.

Read also: Afenyo Markin on Minority's U-turn 'personal attack' on Health Minister

Committee

Parliament had constituted a nine-member committee to determine whether the procurement processes followed the laid down rules for the procurement of drugs.

The committee has already presented its report to the House and established that Ghana paid some monies to the Dubai-based businessman Shiek Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum despite the Minister earlier claiming that no payment had been made.

The committee recommended that all the monies already paid should be refunded.

Minority position

It is based on this that the Minority today initiated the moves for the minister to be removed under a vote of censure with the explanation that his conduct is a direct breach of Article 82 of the Constitution.

"That this House passes a vote of censure on the minister for dishonest procurement of Sputnik-V vaccines from the private office of Sheik Al Maktoum and S. L. Global Limited at the cost of $19 and $18.5 respectively when the ex-factory price of the vaccine generally announced was $10 confirmed by the minister to the committee responsible," it said.

The vote of censure against Mr Agyeman-Manu, who was in the House on Wednesday [Feb 16, 2022] to answer questions related to the health sector, came after members debated and adopted, by consensus, the report of the ad-hoc committee that was set up to probe the procurement agreement the minister signed with private companies for the supply of Sputnik-V vaccines.

The nine-member committee, chaired by the Deputy Majority Leader, Mr Alexander Afenyo-Markin, was to determine whether the procurement processes followed the laid down rules for the procurement of drugs.

The committee was also to determine whether or not the transaction qualified as an international business under article 181 of the Constitution, among others.

The committee also ascertained the cost of the vaccines and justification for the cost and whether the deal guaranteed value for money for Ghana.

During the probe, Mr Agyeman-Manu admitted to committing "an error" in signing the contract agreement with Sheik Al Maktoum, who is a member of the ruling family of the United Arab Emirates in Dubai on March 9, 2021, and failing to seek both parliamentary and Cabinet approvals.

Minority press conference

Addressing the press on the Minority's move, the Ranking Member on the Health Committee of Parliament, Mr Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, said the Minority had gathered the required signatories to trigger the motion for the House to pass a vote of no confidence in the minister.

He said the motion followed the minister's decision to cause the payment of $2.8 million (the equivalent of GH16.3 million) to the private office of the Sheik Al Maktoum.

He, however, said when the minister appeared before the committee, he, under oath claimed that no payment was made under the agreement to the private office of the businessman.

Refund of payment

Reacting, the Deputy Majority Leader, Mr Afenyo-Markin, said through the work of the ad-hoc committee, the Ministry of Health was held accountable with the nation not incurring any financial loss.

He said through the work of the committee certain correspondence between the Ministry of Health and Sheik Al Maktoum resulted in the refund of a certain amount paid for which payment no vaccines had been received.

"This is enough for us to celebrate as a country. That Parliament, when it is assertive and working together in a bipartisan way, can achieve results," he said.

On the motion of censure against the Health Minister, Mr Afenyo-Markin said "we will be surprised to see that happening on the floor of the House.
"because it will amount to a serious bad faith being mounted; but that notwithstanding, we wait to see," he said.