The allegations of overpricing against the government over the purchase of COVID-19 Sputnik V vaccines have been refuted by the Majority in Parliament.
Chairman for the Health Committee Dr Ayew Afriye in an interview with the press corps in parliament on Wednesday, June 9, said no funds have been committed to all agreements entered into for the supply of vaccines by the health ministry.
According to him, though the prices range from 12 to 19 dollars, payment will only be effected upon delivery of the vaccines.
His comments come 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.
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.
“VG– The agreement with the Sheik, do you view it as a sensible agreement? To pay 19 dollars per dose?
“Ofori Attah – I don’t know. You know, you are confronted with “the good guys” from the West not giving you any assurances of supply [of vaccines], and you have 30 million people and are to save lives. You know, it’s easy to sit somewhere else and say: Why are you doing this? But you need to make sure you protect your people. You manage that as well as you can. This is all a contrived and manufactured crisis because clearly there’s enough [vaccines] to go around if only there was equity and justice in what we are doing.
Mr Agyemang Manu on 28 April stated that Ghana was expected to take delivery of some 300,000 Russian-made Sputnik V vaccines to get the country’s vaccination programme back on track.
“We’re making efforts to get into the country some Russia type Sputnik, though we have made initial approaches and expecting some Sputnik to come in. They demonstrated availability and brought in the first 160,000 which is kept there and waiting for about 300,000 to come.
However, it is not known if the Sputnik vaccines ever arrived in Ghana as promised by the Health Minister. It is also not known if the vaccines are the same alleged to have been purchased for $19 instead of $10 per dose.