Leader of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Caucus in Parliament, Haruna Iddrisu, has disclosed that his side has filed a motion for a bipartisan probe into circumstances leading to government’s purchase of Covid-19 vaccines above market price.
According to him, the transaction, per Article 815 of the 1992 Constitution, is an international economic transaction but was not brought before Parliament as prescribed by the law.
“We would want to understand the procurement processes that were used but more importantly, to demand value for money for the Ghanaian taxpayer that we’re not just seeking to profit from Covid with this questionable transaction,” he said on June 18, before the august House.
His call for a probe follows revelations that the Health Ministry has contracted a supplier, S. L. Global Limited, to purchase five million doses of Sputnik V vaccines at $26 per dose.
The Ghanaian-owned company, serving as the intermediary, is to deliver the vaccines in batches; one million doses each month until the fifth month when the country would have had enough doses for inoculation of all eligible persons.
Among other things, the agreement was that the purchase will not include transportation, storage and other charges; thus, the cost is likely to rise.
Thus, in a letter dated March 16, 2021, the Health Ministry requested the Finance Ministry to support it to raise $130 million to be used to pay for Covid-19 vaccines, which were being procured through some third parties.
This was discovered barely a week after an investigation by a Norwegian newspaper uncovered that government was in the process of buying the Sputnik V vaccine for $18.5 per dose from the businessmen instead of $10.
The report revealed that government had signed a contract for the purchase of the Sputnik V vaccine with an Emirati official who it said was involved in the controversial Ameri power deal and a Norwegian citizen charged with money laundering in Norway.
Publishing its findings on www.vg.no, VG, the Norwegian newspaper, further revealed that government has signed the contract for 3.4 million doses of the vaccine after it received an initial 16,000 doses from two businessmen on March 3, 2021.
According to the publication, when the Ministry of Health was contacted to respond to the story, “a group of bureaucrats” told the newspaper that their job was to pay after the contract had been signed.
The Ministry of Finance in response to the story said the vaccines were purchased to “protect” people.
The Minority in Parliament maintains that the pricing of the product is a rip off to the country. Thus, the request for the formal Parliamentary probe into the matter.