Health Minister Kwaku Agyemang Manu receiving the first batch of 16,000 Sputnik vaccines

CDD Ghana Fellow for Public Law and Justice, Prof. Stephen Kweku Asare, has questioned the failure of the Government of Ghana to secure a direct transaction from the Russian government in the procurement of Sputnik-V COVID-19 vaccines into the country.

The US-based lawyer said there is no justification for the government’s option to the overpriced Sputnik-V vaccines through middlemen.

“We were able to negotiate directly with Russia to be used as trial grounds of the single-dose Sputnik but could not negotiate to buy their much-publicized $10 vaccine directly from them.

“Rather, we ended up buying the Russia Sputnik from the UAE sheiks. If the UAE sheiks can get it from Russia, why can’t we? Either we are not effective negotiators or we are Living Legends.”

The Ministry of Health has explained it had to resort to the market in the procurement of Sputnik-V COVID-19 vaccines into the country because the Government of Ghana was unable to obtain direct supplies from the Russian government.

According to the Ministry, the initial price quoted in the transaction was US$25, however, this was negotiated further downwards to US$19.

“This is the result of the cost build-up to the ex-factory price of US$10 per dose, taking into account land transportation, shipment, insurance, handling, and special storage charges, as explained by the seller. These are the factors which led us to agree the final price of US$19 per dose,” a statement by the MoH signed by Chief Director, Kwabena Boadu Oku-Afari said.

The MoH explanation offered is against the backdrop of scarcity or non-availability of the vaccines on the market, said the release.

This comes after a popular Norwegian website alleged that Ghanaian government officials have signed an agreement to purchase Sputnik vaccines manufactured and produced in Russia for 19 dollars per dose instead of 10 dollars.

In a detailed report by the website, www.vg.no, the Minister of Health Kwaku Agyemang Manu is reported to have signed the contract with an Emirati official who was involved in the sale of Gas Turbines to Ghana in the controversial Ameri deal and another wanted Norwegian citizen.

“The sample proves that the Sheik has access to the coronavirus vaccine. A product sought after by every country in the world. Now, it is time for negotiations. Six days later, the Ministry of Health in Ghana signs an agreement with the Sheik. They announce that they have reached an agreement regarding the purchase of 3.4 million vaccine doses.”

According to the website, the deal between the government of Ghana and the two officials was arranged by another intermediary charged with money laundering in Norway.

When confronted by details of the price of the Sputnik vaccine, Finance Minister Ken Ofori Attah is reported to have answered that the government had a choice to make to protect the people of Ghana hence the decision to pay the $19 for the Sputnik vaccine.

Reacting to this, the MoH however maintained that several other individuals and Ghanaian companies, who gave the MoH indications of capacity to supply Sputnik V vaccine, had been engaged accordingly, but, so far, without any results.

“The Public Procurement Authority (PPA) has been duly engaged in these processes. The MoH has consequently undertaken to place batch orders for quantities of the vaccine based on national need and availability of storage space. The MoH, therefore, assures all that it will endeavour to secure vaccines for the Ghanaian people, despite global shortages and cognisant of price and legal considerations,” the statement concluded.

Source: Ghana/Kasapafmonline.com/102.5 fm