The Minority in Parliament has called on government to abrogate the agreement for the supply of Sputnik-V vaccines because it is ‘a rip-off’.
According to the caucus, the justification by government to use middle men in procuring the Russia-made vaccines at US$19 is unconvincing.
Government, through the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, had justified the use of middlemen to purchase over five million doses of the vaccine because all efforts to use Russian officialdom had proved futile, hence the involvement of middle men.
“We signed two agreements, one that was going to sell vaccines to us at US$19 and the other at US$18.5. These agreements were with the view that it will only become operational after we have placed orders and have issued letters of credit,” Mr Agyeman-Manu said at a news press conference in Accra, on June 16.
But the Minority at a press conference in Parliament, yesterday, said the justification is untenable.
“We the Minority believe that this contract is not in the interest of Ghanaians and whether payments have been made or not, the contract is null and void.
“Government must, as a matter of urgency, put in the necessary steps to abrogate the contract,” Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, said.
He said that investigations by the Minority into the deal, indicated that the Russian authorities were at all times willing to deal directly with Ghana contrary to government’s claim.
Mr Iddrisu, who is also MP, Tamale South, said: “Indeed, our checks indicate that the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) has opened direct engagements with over 30 governments as at February, this year, including African countries such as Kenya, Rwanda, Tunisia, Guinea and Algeria.”
He said: “we have also established that the dubious middlemen government is dealing with have no authorisation on behalf of RDIF or Russian authorities to hold themselves out as agents. At best, they are imposters.
“The NDC caucus can also confirm that these middlemen made no efforts to engage the Russian Embassy when they arrived in Accra. Our government did not also contact them for any due diligence neither were Russian Embassy officials invited into the meetings with these shadowy characters”.
Mr Iddrisu said he did not understand why government decided to use middlemen when the World Health Organisation had warned all countries to desist from using intermediaries to purchase the vaccines.
He said “government’s attitude only points to one direction – opportunism in exploiting the pandemic to aggregate wealth.”
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI