The Vice President of IMANI Africa has faulted all three arms of government in the manner in which the procurement of Sputnik vaccines by government from middleman Sheik Al-Maktoum and its subsequent investigation have been handled.
Speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express on Monday, Mr Kofi Bentil stated that the country has suffered a catastrophic failure as Parliament has failed to take actions against Health Minister, Agyeman-Manu, following reports from the ad-hoc committee probing the Sputnik vaccine procurement that 50 per cent of the contract sum had been paid by government, in contrast to statements by Mr Agyeman-Manu.
According to him, structures right from the Health Ministry through to Cabinet and the Bank of Ghana (BoG) that should have ensured such a situation does not occur failed to do so.
“At least, the Committee has done a job and put out the obvious, and the obvious is that every arm of government failed in this exercise and for me, that is the most important thing. Even Parliament was lied to and Parliament has not taken any serious action.
“I said before that, maybe the action will follow, but for now, what I think Parliament should be minded to deal with is that if a minister can come before Parliament and under oath tell them something which is untrue and they let that person walk, they have totally undermined their own importance.
“If a minister can do all the things that have been done and the person does not pay any serious price and the laws of this country do not have anything to say about it, then I’m not sure what kind of governance we are running.”
He told host, Aisha Ibrahim that “we have suffered a catastrophic failure and we need to get to the bottom of it.”
His concerns come at a time when government has been requested to relieve the Health Minister of his duties owing to him breaching the constitutional provisions with regards to Parliamentary approvals and the Public Procurement Act in his quest to procure vaccines to aid in the fight against Covid-19 among others.
For the Minority in Parliament, its call for such an action will not be shoved under the carpet although Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin has asked that justice should be tempered with mercy.
Adding on, Mr Bentil insisted that “Parliament is the only institution where we have representatives with the necessary power to get into these matters and find us the answers.”
He, therefore, admonished that the current situation should not get to a point where organisations such as the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) will be invited to intervene due to Parliament’s inability to address the matter.
“We don’t want somebody to go to CHRAJ or some other place. That will only happen if we think Parliament is failing in its oversight.
“So I am watching and I think many people are watching what Parliament will do to try and salvage whatever is left of this system and try and make sure that under their watch, things like this will not happen again. It may be a good lesson for all of us, if there are loopholes, we solve them,” he concluded.