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Sputnik V: Prosecute Ken Ofori Atta – Apaak

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Opposition lawmaker for Builsa South, Dr Clement Apaak has called for the prosecution of Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta for making payments in the botched Sputnik V contract.

Dr Apaak stated that both the Health Minister Kwaku Agyemang-Manu and Mr Ofori Atta should be made to answer questions in court because the two of them worked hand-in-hand relative to this deal.

In a tweet, Dr Apaak said “SputnikV scandal-sack, prosecute Health&Finance Ministers.

“Heath Minister broke the law by ignoring parliament etc but how come Finance Minister pay 16m without evidence of delivery of the vaccines? Health Min didn’t pay or recommend any payment, Finance Min paid, on what basis did he pay?”

Agyemang-Manu has formally written to the Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoun, a member of the ruling family of Dubai, United Emirates for a refund of the excess money paid in the botched sputnik V contract.

In a letter dated 2nd August 2021, Mr Agyemang-Manu said “I wish to formally accept your termination of our agreement fate 9yh March 2021 for the supply of Sputnik V vaccine as per letter number ADM/LT/GHA/00/21/101 Dated 14th July 2021.

“By this letter I also wish to formally request for the refund of the remaining amount for the non-supplied doses which should be the total amount paid to your office minus the amount due for the 20,000 you already supplied in line with your earlier email dated 25th July 2021 in which it was affirmed that on the 13th April 2021 funds were transferred into your accounts as 50 per cent advanced of the initial batch of 300,000 doses.

“This request for refund is in line with clause 8.2 of the agreement which states that “any termination of this agreement which shall be by notice in writing to the other party shall not affect any rights, remedies obligations or liabilities of the parties that have accrued up to the date of termination.

“It would be very much appreciated if the amount is transferred back into the sending bank account as per the earlier swift advice dated 9th April 2021.”

The Afenyo-Markin-led Parliamentary committee that investigated the Sputnik V vaccine contract recommended in its final report that the Ministry of Finance should take steps to recover the money due the Republic in respect of the amount of US$2,850,000.00 (Cedi equivalent of GH¢16,331,640.00) being the cost of the Sputnik-V vaccines that were proposed to be procured.

The Committee says it found that the Ministry of Health did not seek approval from the Board of Public Procurement Authority (PPA) under Sections 40 and 41 of Act 663 before signing the Agreements.

The Ministry however, applied for ratification under Section 90(3) (c) of the Act. Which has still not been granted.

The Committee also found that PPA has not concluded its investigations into the matter.

The Committee found that the Ministry dealt with the Private Office of His Highness Al Maktoum and S. L. Global. The two entities were appointed by the Aurugulf Health Investment (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates), to be both Agents and Distributors of the Sputnik-V COVID-19 Vaccines in Ghana. Clearly using middlemen for the purchase and distribution of the vaccine.

The Committee found that the amount of US$19.00 was the agreed price of the vaccine under the Ministry’s Agreement with Al Maktoum and US$18.50 under the

Agreement with S. L. Global which was originally $26 per dose.

The Committee found that the ex-factory price of the Sputnik-V Vaccine was US$10.00.

The Minister explained that the prices achieved under the two Agreements included the cost of documentation, shipping, packaging, logistics and expenses in relation to transportation of the vaccine from its place of origin to Ghana.

The Committee found that the Ministry entered into the two Agreements without cabinet approval but only based on a Ministerial decision, having regard to the advice of the COVID-19 Emergency Operating Committee.

The Committee found that the amount of US$2,850,000.00 (representing 50% of the contract sum of US$5,700,000.00) has been paid to Messrs Al Maktoum and this translates into the Cedi equivalent of GH¢16,331,640.00 converted at the then prevailing exchange rate of US$1 to GH¢5.73 whereas the minister said he had no knowledge of payment under oath.

Based on the afore-mentioned findings, the Committee recommends as follows: Issues Relating to Article 181(5) of the Constitution

The Committee is of the opinion that even if the situation in the country at the time the Agreement was signed, was that of an emergency, due process of law should have been followed because Parliament would have treated the issue with the urgency it deserved and the appropriate action would have been taken accordingly. The Agreement would have been taken under certificate of urgency in accordance with the

The point must also be made that, even if it was an emergency, the Minister should have found time to communicate effectively and engage with the Committee on Health.

The extensive engagement would have saved the Ministry from the negative reactions from the citizenry and some Members of Parliament.

The Committee therefore recommends that, in future, any such transaction, whether local or international, be subjected to broader stakeholder consultations and should be taken through due process of law including Parliamentary approval. Other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) should take a cue from the recommendation, not only in the case of Agreements but also on issues relating to policies and programmes to be implemented.

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‘We’ll soon know the truth as to whether Adwoa Safo was in parliament or not’ – Ablakwa

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It appears the Minority in Parliament is not giving up anytime soon on the matter of whether Dome Kwabenya MP, Sarah Adwoa Safo, was physically present in parliament on Tuesday November 30, 2021 or not.

Despite the MP and Minister clarifying in Parliament on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 on the floor of Parliament that she was the one in the chamber on Tuesday, and that she wasn’t impersonated by anyone as suggested, the NDC minority says that claim is full of inconsistencies.

It emerged on Tuesday, November 30, 2021 that Sarah Adwoa Safo has been absent from Parliament for some time now following an extension of her leave which was granted by the President.

The allegations are that she was impersonated during the proceedings on Tuesday because the Majority side needed the numbers at all cost to approve the government’s 2022 budget, which they did despite the disapproval by the minority side.

The controversy was deepened by the fact that videos and photos of a woman believed not to be the Dome Kwabenya MP in Parliament went viral on social media.

On Wednesday however, Sarah Adwoa Safo appeared in the House insisting that she was in the chamber the previous day and that, suspicions of impersonations must be ignored.

But NDC Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, says his side is not convinced.

“Very soon, we will put out all the details we know so far about the incident; which are very troubling. Very soon we will know and get to the bottom of the matter and Ghanaians will know the truth whether she was in the chamber or not. But safe to say, we are not convinced, so far the contradiction are one too many and it is important to state that , this should not be reduced to woman hood or how to dress as a woman at all. It is a needles distortion. That is not the issue at all”, Mr. Ablakwa said.

In the said viral video, the woman was seen wearing a nose mask, leaving the chamber right after the headcount which led to the approval of the budget statement.

However, on Wednesday, Madam Sarah Adwoa Safo appearing with a different hairstyle did not wear a nose mask.

Adwoa Safo dismissed Okudzeto Ablakwa’s claims, saying “I cannot force Hon. Okudzeto Ablakwa, who is my friend on the other side, to dress the way I want him to dress, that is an insult to womanhood so those making that noise should withdraw.”

Shortly after her message in Parliament, the Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak, indicated that his side will establish the truth of the matter.

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Job creation is our focus – Ofori-Atta

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Ofori-Atta will be presenting the 2022 budget today

This is in accordance with Article 179 of the 1992 Constitution and section 21 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921)

The budget will focus on solving the rising unemployment rate in the country

Finance minister Ken Ofori-Atta has disclosed that the 2022 budget will address the rising unemployment issue in the country.

He said the creation of jobs for the youth will be at the centre of the 2022 budget.

Also, the government will create an entrepreneurial environment for the youth of the country to venture into.

“I don’t think we can wait any longer, because the time is now on how to create an entrepreneurial state and deal with this issue once and all,” the finance minister is reported to have said by Joy Business.

“Certainly, the issues of youth and jobs will be the centre of this budget presentation,” he added.

He also said the budget will focus on improving the revenue situation in the country.

Ken Ofori-Atta will present the budget statement and economic policy of government in parliament today, November 17.

The presentation is in accordance with Article 179 of the 1992 Constitution and section 21 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921).

Meanwhile, economic analysts have asked Ghanaians to lower their expectations of freebies in the 2022 budget.

According to them, the nation is broke and needs to be revamped.

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Ken Ofori-Atta presents 2022 budget today

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Ken Ofori-Atta will be presenting the budget statement today

This is in accordance with Article 179 of the 1992 Constitution and Section 21 (3) of Act 921

The budget is described as the most anticipated budget in Ghana’s history

Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta will on behalf of the President lay before Parliament, the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government today.

This is in accordance with Article 179 of the 1992 Constitution and Section 21 (3) of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016, (Act 921).

The budget, which is termed as the most anticipated in Ghana’s history is said to focus on expanding Ghana’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Ministry of Finance, ahead of the budget reading in a statement hinted that the budget will among other things dwell on “creating a climate-friendly entrepreneurial state to address unemployment and import substitution.”

It also mentioned the “digitalisation of the economy, skills development and entrepreneurship as among the key issues in the presentation.”

Ken Ofori-Atta in a Joy News report monitored by GhanaWeb stated that the government of Ghana is committed to putting in place measures that will help deal with the unemployment situation in the country as well as recent challenges with the employment of fresh graduates for the public sector.

“I don’t think we can wait any longer, because the time is now on how to create an entrepreneurial state and deal with this issue once and all. Certainly, the issues of youth and jobs will be the centre of this budget presentation,” the Minister said.

Ken Ofori-Atta, however, noted that creating an entrepreneurial state has been a challenge for the government, and hopefully the 2022 budget to deal with this problem.

Some interest groups including financial and economic analysts as well as professional and trade organisations have expressed varied expectations on the budget.

Whereas some analysts have urged the Government not to introduce new taxes, the Ghana Union of Traders Associations (GUTA) has, for instance, appealed to the government to implement policies that would reduce the cost of doing business in the country.

Other groups have also called for the widening of the tax net to enable the government to meet its revenue targets.

The Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) has also called on the government to review the payment of road tolls in the country.

Godfred Abulbire Adogma, the GPRTU general secretary, said Ghana should substitute paying of road tolls with a one-pesewa increment on the Energy Levy.

“When you come to the issue of road tolls, even if the government decides to raise the current amount of GHC1 to GHC2, that wouldn’t be enough.

“So, we have itemised all the reasons and the government could scrap all the toll booths and rather charge an amount per litre of fuel. That can be another measure to prevent revenue leakages,” Adogma was quoted in an Asaase radio report.

On his part, the Chief Executive of the Chamber of Pharmacy, Thony Ameka, in a Joy News report monitored by GhanaWeb, warned prices of medicines will increase if the government goes ahead to scrap the 50% discounts.

Eric Anti, Secretary of the Spare Parts Dealers Association at Abosey Okai in Accra, also expressed similar consequences.

But what is contained in the government 2022 budget?

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