Minister of Finance, Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta, has jumped to the defense of the Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, as calls for his resignation deepen over the botched Sputnik V vaccine deal.
Mr. Ofori-Atta insists Ghanaians are being unsympathetic despite the efforts of the Health Minister to secure vaccines for the country when the lives of citizens were at stake.
An ad-hoc bipartisan parliamentary committee that probed the deal recommended among other things that the Finance Minister takes steps to recover over $2 million paid to Sheikh Ah Makhtoum for undelivered vaccines.
Meanwhile, the Sheikh has in response to a letter from the Health Minister requesting a refund agreed to pay the money.
This is in spite of the Health Minister’s claim before the committee that he was not aware that any money had been expended for the vaccines.
Speaking to Accra-based Asaase Radio, the Finance Minister, who has also been criticized over the payment of the monies to the businessman, maintained that the Health Minister did nothing wrong.
“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. But to be so unsympathetic to somebody who felt that what can he do to ensure that there is continuity for Ghanaians, and now sit 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.”