Lawyer Martin Kpebu says Alexander Kwamina Afenyo-Markin is not helping the case of Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, the embattled health minister with his constant defence of the minister’s lie under oath before the nine-member ad-hoc bi-partisan parliamentary committee.
According to him, there is no way payments can be made without the minister’s knowledge because the minister needs to request for release of funds from the finance ministry.
“There is no way a payment can be made without the Minister of Health requisitioning and if you are going to requisition or request of the release of funds, it is by the minister because ordinarily, it’s from one minister to the other then in exceptional cases, when the minister is not available, he then instructs the chief director to write.
“So that request from Ministry of Health to the Ministry of Finance for the money is something that the minister of health knew about and not the chief director…,” Lawyer Martin Kpebu said on Joy FM, Thursday, August 12.
Pressure is being mounted on the Health Minister by some Ghanaians to resign because he lied before the ad-hoc committee that Ghana has not made any payments to the intermediaries the country was dealing with in order to get Sputnik V vaccines.
But the committee established after its probe that the Health Ministry had paid 50% percent of the negotiated contract sum between Ghana and one Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum.
In reacting to the development, the Effutu MP stated that, all documents presented by various agencies related to the transaction do not nullify the Minister’s testimony before the committee.
“It is not our finding that the minister lied to us, and it is because people are not reading the outcome of our probe,” Afenyo-Markin said.
The deputy Majority Leader added, “the Minister did not lie when he said he at all material times he was dealing with a credible entity and today the funds have fully landed in government accounts. If you ask me, I will say the committee has no further action to take because the recommendation has been met with the refund of the money.”
“The House listened to the audio of the Minister when he appeared before us, and it was clear the Minister never lied, and that is why the Minority changed their position,” he explained.
But Lawyer Kpebu is of the view that, the chief director at the ministry cannot act alone.
He said the only time the chief director can act alone “is when the minister is not well and not available … You can’t just have the chief director sit in his office and do that…”
He added, chief directors with the various ministries can write letters for funds but “these are usually small figures but with the amount involved in the Sputnik V vaccine procurement, thus, $2.8m, a chief director cannot issue a letter alone, it is not possible.
“So, Afenyo-Marki,n with due respect, is just making a mockery [of the situation]…,” he stressed.