There will not be the need to take punitive action against the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, over the controversial Sputnik V vaccine saga, Alexander Afenyo-Markin has stated.
He explained that there are no provisions in the laws that implicate the minister in this messy deal.
Pressure has been mounting on the minister to resign and be tried for perjury after it was revealed that the minister lied under oath when he appeared before the ad hoc Committee constituted by parliament to look into the procurement deal.
Kwaku Agyeman-Manu had admitted that he failed to follow the due processes in the deal, giving reasons that the urgency of the time was what held him back from doing so.
It however turned out that a 50% payment had actually been made to Sheikh Dalmook Al Maktoum even before he told the Committee that the ministry had not made any payment.
Eventually, a report by the Committee that investigated the case tasked the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, to retrieve the said $2,850,000.
But, reacting to the calls for the minister’s resignation, the Deputy Majority Leader, who was the Chairman of the ad hoc Committee, said that there is more to the case than meets the eye.
He concluded that the recommendations of the Committee are far-fetched, reports citinewsroom.com.
“I have not read any statutes which say that failure to seek prior approval amounts to an offense. There is no such law that I have read that implicates the Minister. What I know is that when you do not seek prior approval, and you are subsequently advised and you verily believe same to be true, you go for ratification and ratification of decisions is allowed by law.
“Under the PPA act you are allowed to seek ratification, you can only talk about a breach when after PPA has conducted investigations and said it is unable to ratify a decision. Much as the atmosphere is charged, we equally hold a duty to educate on the law. Beyond the political questions and answers are the realities of the law,” he explained.
He admitted while Kwaku Agyeman-Manu may have erred, the victimization is unfair.
“Unfortunately, Mr. Agyemang Manu has become a victim of circumstance and that is the price you pay when you come into public service. It is expected. People can misconstrue you. The public has not received the full facts. People are twisting the story to embarrass him. The point is that when he was referring to that figure, at the point in time, he was responding to questions on the government of Ghana sources, bear in mind that for bilateral sources there is no third-party distributor. So he said that on that score, he will not pay more than that.
“In our findings, we said it would have been prudent for him to seek the Attorney General’s advice, come to Parliament, and go to PPA before signing the agreement. We don’t want the impression to be that the NPP side of the committee is defending the Minister. We only want the facts to be put out there fairly so that we don’t pollute the minds of people. It was a bi-partisan committee, we unanimously came up with the report. I am not changing my position on our findings. But I am ready to defend and deal with all mischief,” he added.
In the meantime, Sheikh Al Marktoum has written to the government to state that he will return the money as requested by the Ministry of Finance.