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Agyeman-Manu acted in good faith - Part 2

Kwaku Agyemang Manu Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu

Tue, 17 Aug 2021 Source: Dawda Eric (Equity)

On 14th August 2021, the Newsfile platform hosted Hon. Alexander Kwamena Afenyo Markin, Mr. Martin Kpebu, and Mr. Kofi Bentil.

The first session of the discussion actually dealt with controversies surrounding the Sputnik V vaccine. The debate on Newsfile, I am told, took a different twist on Twitter with mischievous suggestions that quite apart from the Chairman of the Ad hoc committee that investigated the saga, others who spoke on the matter advanced superior arguments.

Amongst the panelists, the one who had his bite of the cherry before other colleagues had the opportunity to chip in was Mr. Kofi Bentil of Imani Africa. It is important to point out that Mr. Kofi Bentil heavily relied on the fact that, since the deal from the failure to seek executive approval, it was void ab initio.

He also argued that, since the deal failed to seek Parliamentary approval in accordance with Article 181(5) of the constitution of Ghana, there was no basis for the payment. In cementing his argument, he solely relied on the Woyome judgement by the Supreme Court of Ghana in 2013.

Mr. Martin Kpebu, on the other hand, decided to focus on testimonies of Hon. Kwaku Agyeman-Manu when he appeared before the ad hoc committee. According to him, the minister peddled falsehood when the committee asked whether monies had been paid for the procurement of the vaccines. In fact, Mr. Kpebu directed the host of the show to playback the video of the minister's encounter with the committee.

It must be noted that, after he did all he could, Hon. Alexander Kwamena Afenyo-Markin was also invited to speak on the matter. Those who watched the show would attest that the chairman of the committee took his time to respond to Mr. Kofi Bentil and Mr. Martin Kpebu.

Hon. Alexander Kwamena Afenyo - Markin argued strongly that, Mr. Kofi Bentil's position that there was no basis for the payment having regard to a flagrant breach of Article 181(5) was actually not the position of the law having regard to the Supreme Court’s decision in CCW limited v Accra Metropolitan Assembly which decision actually affirms the position that, a contract could sin against a statute but in so far as the other party performs his part of the contractual obligations, that party is actually entitled to be paid on grounds of fairness.

Again, in demystifying the clear distinction between the Woyome matter and the Sputnik V, Hon. Afenyo Markin argued that the Supreme Court ordered for Mr. Woyome to pay back to the state not because the contract was in violation of Article 181(5) in view of the fact that, Woyome failed to establish that, he actually had a contract with the state.

It is worth noting that when Hon. Alexander Kwamena Afenyo-Markin challenged Mr. Kofi Bentil to support his claim of invalidity of the deal because of an absence of Executive approval with any statute in force, he abandoned his averment on that score.

The committee chair in responding to Mr. Kpebu tendered evidence to rebut claims that the Health Minister peddled outright falsehood when he was asked whether payment had been made the very day he chose to honour the committee's invitation.

Hon. Alexander Kwamena Afenyo- Markin tendered letters the Health Minister wrote to the committee particularly in respect of matters of additional information that were not within his personal knowledge at the time he appeared before the ad hoc committee.

According to Hon. Alex Afenyo -Markin one of such additional information the minister supplied was a letter he wrote acknowledging or confirming payments to the Sheikh after further checks by himself. It is also important to point out that the payment to the Sheikh was not sanctioned by "cheque" but rather letters of credit and, therefore, payment, could only be confirmed when the person on whose behalf the letter of credit is issued has been able to draw on the facility.

So ideally, the "conditional" response the minister provided when he was asked whether payment had been made was in order.

Whoever watched the show with an open mind and candid enough would admit that arguments advanced by Hon. Alexander Kwamena Afenyo-Markin were all on point of law.

Columnist: Dawda Eric (Equity)