The Ministry of Health has admitted signing a $13 million contract with a healthcare firm, S. P. Global for the supply of Sputnik Covid-19 vaccines without seeking advice from the Attorney-General.
Director of Legal Services at the Ministry, Inuah Yusuf told members of the parliamentary committee probing the Sputnik Vaccines contract that, they relied on an earlier advice from the Attorney General on the contract with Dubai-based Sheik Mahktoun to sign the S. P. Global contract.
He said, “We wrote to the Attorney-General, we got the advice and the circumstances were very similar and we were really guided by the same principles.
“We were asked to provide advice by the Attorney-General on S.P. Global agreement, we did not have an advice specifically on that but we were guided by the advice given in respect of Mahktoun,” he added.
But Ranking Member on Parliament’s Health Committee, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh says the explanation does not add up.
According to him, he is surprised by the excuse being given by the Ministry of Health, adding that the terms and conditions in the two contracts were different.
“Mr. Chairman, if you look at the letter from the AG, it is dated on the 12 of April 2021 and then the first agreement with regards to S.P. Global, it was dated 16th March so how can you tell this committee that you were guided by the advice by the AG,” he questioned.
Meanwhile, the Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu has assured the general public that his outfit will no longer proceed with any procurement without parliamentary approval.
Defending his failure to seek Parliamentary approval for earlier transactions, Mr. Agyeman-Manu said the infection and death rates related to Covid-19 compelled him to ignore laid down procedures before signing the contracts for procuring vaccines.