Bi-Partisan Committee Probes Sputnik Deal

Parliament has established a bi-partisan committee to investigate the procurement contracts between the government and Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum and one other for the supplies of Sputnik-V COVID-19 vaccines, after adopting a private member motion from the Minority group in the House.

The motion, which was sponsored by seven members of the opposition NDC group led by the Tamale South MP, Haruna Iddrisu and supported by the Asawase MP, Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka, was adopted Thursday evening, while the committee was set yesterday.

The committee, made up of five members of NPP MPs and four members of NDC MPs appointed by the leadership of both sides, include Alexander Afenyo-Markin (Effutu) Chairman, Bernard Ahiafor (NDC Akatsi South), Kwame Ayimadu-Antwi (NPP Asante-Akim Central), Kwabena Mintah Akandoh (NDC Juaboso), and Dr. Nana Ayew Afriyie (NPP Effiduasi-Asokore).

The rest are Ernest Henry Norgbey (NDC Ashaiman), Elizabeth Ofosu-Adjare (NDC Techiman North), Farouk Umar Aliu Mahama (NPP Yendi) and Sheila Bartels (NPP Ablekuma North).

It will “determine the transaction with respect to procurement and supply of the Sputnik V vaccine between the Government of Ghana (represented by the Ministry of Health) and Al Maktoum Global and whether it qualifies as international business and economic transaction under Article 181(5) of the Constitution,” Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu read.

He announced that the committee would determine whether the contract was subjected to prior-approval by Parliament as well as determine whether the procurement process followed the propriety of the same.

According to him, the committee will also determine whether the services of middlemen were procured in the transaction, and if so, “the propriety of the same” having regard to the relevant laws.

It will again ascertain the cost of the vaccines and justification of the cost, and whether the transaction guaranteed that for Ghana, and whether any consideration has passed from the government to the middleman in respect of the transaction.

The committee will also determine whether the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman Manu misled Parliament during the consideration of the transaction for the procurement of the vaccines among others.

The committee was directed by the Second Deputy Speaker, Andrew Amoako Asiamah, to submit a report of the findings and inclusions for the consideration and necessary action by Parliament by three weeks’ time.

Even though the investigation is seen as a partisan inquisition, such criticism was diffused from taking a political toll when the Majority side showed no interest in opposing the motion and the establishment of the committee.

The Health Minister declared his readiness to appear before the committee during the debate and said he did not harbour any fear that the investigation could be used to damage him politically.

By Ernest Kofi Adu, Parliament House