Ghana’s  Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has come to the defense of  Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu,  over the failed Sputnik V vaccine deal.

This follows mounting pressure by sections of the Ghanaian public for the health Minister to resign. But speaking in an interview on Asaase radio, Mr Ofori-Atta said  Ghanaians are being unsympathetic despite efforts of the Health Minister to secure vaccines for the country at a time when lives were at stake.

An ad-hoc bipartisan parliamentary committee that examined the deal recommended among other things that the Finance Minister takes steps to recover over $2 million paid to Sheikh Ah Makhtoum for undelivered vaccines.

Subsequently, the Sheikh has in a response to a letter from the Health Minister agreed to refund the money, despite earlier claims by the Health Minister that he was not aware that any money had been expended for the vaccines.

The Finance Minister, who has also been implicated over the payment of the monies to the businessman,  maintained that the Health Minister did nothing wrong. Pressure group, Occupy Ghana together with Asepa have all called on the Health Minister to resign over his failure to seek both cabinet and parliamentary approval.

“The people [middlemen] have said they can’t supply the vaccines; which means that they have broken the contract, and then we get our $2 million back, and then we move on. But to be so unsympathetic to somebody who felt that what can he do to ensure that there is continuity for Ghanaians, and now sit comfortably to chastise him without empathizing with him; I am empathetic of him, and I expect that others will also realize the type of pressure that he was under at the time and his commitment to ensuring that Ghanaians are safe.”

“I got a number of interviews by a lot of European media outlets, and I asked them; you sit there and ask me why I am paying more for vaccines when you are hoarding those vaccines, and I have one out of a hundred people being vaccinated whereas you have eighty over a hundred, and then you sit there and ask me why are you doing this.”