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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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Ignore twisted interpretation of ‘do or die’ comment – Ashanti chief to Mahama

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The Krontihene of Ejura Sekyedumase, Nana Agyapa II, has expressed surprise about the deliberate twisting of an idiom used by former President John Dramani Mahama to demonstrate the commitment of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to plug any loopholes that contributed to the party’s inability to win the 2020 general elections.

According to the NDC 2020 Presidential Candidate, the party considers the 2024 election very critical and will be a ‘Do or Die’ affair, urging party operatives to remember that they can only win the election at the level of the polling stations.

In his remarks to welcome the former President and his entourage to the palace of the Frantehene ahead of his tour of the Ashanti Region, the Krontihene expressed his misgivings over the deliberate attempt to twist what Mr. Mahama said.

“These days even when you speak well some misconstrue it. It is unfortunate because the former President is only rallying his supporters that at the next elections the party would be vigilant and not be caught unawares, and that all persons given responsibility should focus and execute their task flawlessly to get their expected results.”

“There is nothing wrong with what he said. But others have deliberately misconstrued his statement. But don’t lose hope, I know that good times are ahead. I am very happy that you have seen that it is not the court you would go to seek redress but that you and your party members will be vigilant and put in the right measures so that your victory is not stolen” he stressed.

Speaking later at a gathering where the leadership of the NDC interacted with victims of a November 21, 2020 accident that involved members of the party from Frante, Frantehene Nana Owusu Sekyere Bobo III commended the former President for the developments he brought to the community during his Presidency.

He recalled that it was President Mahama’s NDC administration that connected 51 communities in the Constituency to the national grid. He also acknowledged Mr. Mahama for coming to the aid of the people and responding to a demand for a school block, among many others.

Nana Frantehene was optimistic that his community can always rely on the NDC if given another chance because of what the community previously benefitted under the party’s administration. He also requested for help to upgrade their clinic to be able to cater for the health need of the people.

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Rev Owusu Bempah reportedly rushed to hospital

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The Founder and Leader of Glorious Word Power Ministries International, Reverend Isaac Owusu Bempah, has been rushed to the Police Hospital in Accra, newsafrica24.com gathers.

The popular man of God was sent to hospital in handcuffs after he fell sick while in police custody.

Rev Owusu Bempah was remanded into police custody on Monday, September 13 after he was denied bail by an Accra Circuit Court presided over by Her Honour Afia Owusuaa Appiah.

He pleaded not guilty to charges levelled against him by the police.

The controversial pastor was picked up on Sunday from his church premises amid stiff resistance from some of the members.

Three of his followers were arrested alongside him and they were also arraigned before court on Monday. Two are on the run.

Their case will be re-called on Monday, September 20.

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Democracy has been beneficial for Ghana and Africa – Akufo-Addo

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“Democracy has been beneficial for the continent and for our country. We know, however, that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, and vigilant we shall be here in Ghana. We shall not let our guard down, and allow the clammy embrace of the people by anti-democrats, who are disdainful and incapable of effective popular mobilisation through accepted channels, but who want shortcuts to power without the express support of the people.”

These were the words of the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, when he delivered a speech at the 2021 Ghana Bar Conference, held in Bolgatanga, capital of the Upper East Region, on Monday, 13th September 2021.

Addressing the gathering, President Akufo-Addo data and history have proven, beyond all reasonable doubt, that all aspects of national life have witnessed significant improvements under democratic dispensations, in comparison to periods of military rule.

According to the President, “The 1970s and 1980s, the periods of unbridled authoritarian rule on the continent, were the eras of economic decline, worsening poverty, collapsing infrastructure and insecurity on our continent. GDP per capita in 1970, for example, according to the World Bank, stood at $220”.

He added that the “third wave of democratization” in Africa, beginning in the 1990s, saw GDP per capita rise, substantially, to six hundred and five dollars ($605) in 1995, declined marginally to five hundred and forty-seven dollars ($547) in the year 2000, and, in 2017, increased to one thousand, five hundred and fifty dollars ($1,550).

In Ghana, President Akufo-Addo stated that GDP per capita was three hundred and ninety-eight dollars ($398) in 1990, declined to two hundred and fifty-eight dollars ($258) in 2000, and it is now two thousand, two hundred and twenty-three dollars ($2,223).

Another key index of Human Development, life expectancy at birth, he said, was estimated by the World Bank at forty-five (45) years in 1970 in sub-Saharan Africa.

“By 1990, this had increased to fifty (50) years, and, in 2019, life expectancy at birth on the continent was sixty-one (61) years. In Ghana, it was forty-nine (49) years in 1970, and sixty-four (64) years in 2019. According to data from the World Bank, primary school enrolment in sub-Saharan Africa in 1970 stood at 54%, and had increased to 98.9% in 2019. It was 64% for us in Ghana in 1970, and by 2019, stood at 105% in 2019,” he said.
According to the President, the implementation of the Free Senior High School policy has brought 1.2 million Ghanaian children into the education ecosystem, the highest number of students in secondary school in Ghana’s history, four hundred thousand (400,000) of whom would otherwise have been excluded.

Additionally, he indicated that the National Health Insurance Scheme is operating more adequately, and is enjoying the confidence of the increasing numbers of its users, with the number of active members up from 10.6 million in 2016 to 12.3 million at the end of 2019, stressing that “the goal in sight is to attain Universal Health Coverage for all”.

With next year marking the 30th anniversary of the 1992 Referendum, President Akufo-Addo noted that the Ghanaian people showed through that process their commitment to democratic governance under a Constitution that guarantees the full enjoyment of fundamental human rights and civic liberties.

“The decision has ushered our nation into the longest, uninterrupted period of stable, constitutional democratic governance in her history, which has experienced, under the 4th Republic, three (3) peaceful transfers of power through the ballot box on three (3) separate occasions. The anti-democrats, who are always looking for occasions to sneer at democratic governance, should also bear the following data in mind,” he said.

Bar Conferences, the President explained, became concerned with constitutional rule, freedom of the press, independence of the judiciary and other matters that were of paramount interest to the citizens, who wanted to live under a governance structure that was insulated from authoritarian rule, whether of the one-party Union Government or military variety.

“The Bar joined, wholeheartedly, in the search of the people for democratic governance, where power emanates from the open decision of the ballot box, not from the coercive force of the gun, secretly undertaken behind the backs of the people,” he added. 

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