Ghana government terminates Sputnik V vaccine contract with Sheikh Maktoum – Minister

Kwaku Agyemang Manu

After failing to meet the deadline to supply vaccines for the Corona Virus, Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum has written to the Ministry of Health to terminate the contract.

Health Minister Kwaku Agyeman Manu said the Government had earlier on mounted pressure on the supplier of Sputnik V vaccines before Maktoum communicated his inability to raise the vaccines.

It was also suggested to the supplier that he amicably opt out of the agreement.

The Health Minister told a bi-partisan parliamentary committee set up to probe the deal that Maktoum said in the communication that he was struggling to raise the vaccines.

SL Global, which was also a partner to the deal, could not supply the vaccines, and the contract is under review.

The Minister said: “We still haven’t issued and credit letter to S. L. Global. Although the contract exists, because of the scarcity (of Sputnik V), the company is also given indications that they will not be able to supply. So we are still engaging them.”

The committee, sitting at the Parliament House in Accra, heard from the Minister, that, Sheikh Al Maktoum had brought the initial consignment, but later confirmed that they had run out of stock,

After attempts to get the vaccine from the manufacturers failed, the suppliers came to terminate the contract.

“They were going to restock and supply ours in two weeks. After two weeks, we enquired, and they said that they had still not gotten to the manufacturers.

“We have since been pressurising them to get us the vaccine but to no avail. And then they gave us verbal notice that they will not be able to supply any longer a yesterday sent in a formal letter.

“So as we sit here, I believe there is no contract between the two parties.”

The Health Minister said the suppliers had not been paid any money despite an initial supply of 20,000 doses of the Sputnik vaccines countrywide, and gave an assurance that the Government would take measures pay for the 20,000 doses that the country had received.

The Minority in Parliament last June registered their worry over the Government’s agreement to pay $19 per jab of Sputnik V through middlemen instead of paying under $10 for the vaccine.

According to them, other countries and multilateral agencies like the African Union (AU) purchased the same vaccines for under $10.

The Minority called on the Government to put in the necessary steps to abrogate the contract with the intermediary to purchase the SPUTNIK V vaccines for the country.

The Minister of Health, on his part, justified the decision by the Ministry to purchase 3.4 million doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine using a middleman, Sheik Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum of United Arab Emirates at a unit cost of $19 instead of $10.

He explained that the Ministry had faced difficulties using country-to-country negotiations and other means to get the vaccine hence the reason for using an intermediary.

The Minority came back last week to demand a parliamentary probe into the procurement contracts between the Government of Ghana, Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum and SL Global, which was also a partner to the deal.

Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu last week Thursday moved a Private Member’s motion for the House to constitute a bi-partisan Committee to investigate the contracts.

The next day, the House constituted a nine-member adhoc committee to investigate the procurement contracts between the Government of Ghana and Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum and one other for the supply of Sputnik-V COVID-19 vaccines.

Deputy Majority Leader Alexander Afenyo Markin is the chairman of the committee, and Mr Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, Ranking Member on the Health Committee is vice.

The rest of the members are; Dr Nana Ayew Afriyie, Chairman of the Health Committee; Mr Bernard Ahiafor, MP for Akatsi South; Mr Kwame Anyimadu Antwi, MP for Asante-Akim Central, Mr Ernest Norgbey, MP for Ashaiman; Mrs Elizabeth Ofosu-Agyare, MP for Techiman North; Ms Sheila Bartels, MP for Ablekuma North; and Mr Farouk Aliu Mahama, MP for Yendi Constituency.

The terms of reference of the Committee was to determine whether or not the transaction for the procurement and supply of the Sputnik V vaccine between the Government of Ghana (GOG) represented by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Al Maktoum S.L Group qualified as international Business or Economic transaction under Article 181(5) of the Constitution, and if so, whether it was subjected to prior approval of Parliament.

Also, the Committee is to determine the procurement process that was followed and the propriety of same and the prices of the vaccines as well as determine whether the services of the middleman were procured in the transaction and if so, having propriety regard to the relevant laws.

Additionally, the Committee is to ascertain the cost of the vaccines and the justification of the cost vaccines, and whether the transaction guaranteed value for money for Ghana.

The Committee is also to determine whether or not any consideration was passed from the GOG to the middleman, suppliers, or any other person.

Furthermore, for the Committee to determine or not the Ministry of Health misled Parliament during the consideration of the transaction for the procurement of the vaccine.

It also to inquire into any other matters connected to the purchase and supply of the Sputnik V vaccine in the agreement between the GOG and the private office of Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum and S.L Global.

The committee is to report to the House in three weeks.

Source: GNA

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