Health Minister, Kweku Agyeman Manu, showed up at an Economic and Financial Court on Tuesday to testify in a case of willfully causing financial loss brought against Former Deputy Minister of Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson and two others, Dr Sylvester Anemana and businessman Richard Jakpa.
Agyeman Manu’s appearance followed a disappointing no show at the court’s last sitting which was explained away by the flimsiest of excuses by Director of Public Prosecutions, Yvonne Attakora Oboubisa, much to the chargrin of trial judge, Afia Serwaa Asare Botchwey.
Led in oral evidence by Attorney General, Godfred Dame, Agyeman Manu’s testimony was about the propriety or otherwise of processes surrounding the contract for the purchase of the ambulances which are at the center of this whole case.
There is no small hint of irony in the very idea that the Health Minister would be the one to mount the witness box and testify against others for alleged contractual impropriety.
Without prejudice to any defence the accused persons have in response to the Health Minister’s claims in court, it bears saying a few things.
As far as parliamentary approvals or the lack of it goes, Agyeman Manu has earned his appearance in the box, except that he was in the wrong box on Tuesday.
He should rightly have been in the dock in court under prosecution long ago, for multiple violations of Ghanaian law in the infamous Sputnik Vaccine scandal.
A duly constituted Parliamentary inquiry slammed and found him liable for the decimation and vandalization of procurement and other laws in respect of the purchase of vaccines ostensibly to proof Ghanaians against the raging pandemic.
The inquiry established that he did not meet even the most basic standards stipulated by law for such purchases.
Not one governmental approval was sought by him.
He did not obtain legal advice from the Attorney-General before entering the vaccine contract. Neither did he seek PPA approval.
More tellingly, he completely neglected to get parliamentary approval before his dalliance with shadowy Dubai-based businesspersons to procure 300,000 vials of vaccines worth $ 5.7 million.
These are clear and unmistakable offenses which should see him in court answering questions for his role. He however walks a free man and jauntily strode into court in an expensive suit seeking to aid the prosecution to show that others didn’t seek approval for procurement of ambulances.
It is stultifying that Agyeman Manu doesn’t realize the depth of the hole he is digging for himself into which he is destined to fall when his bungling government is booted out of power by an angry Ghanaian electorate.
Even as he made his way to court to speak against others, he was pleading with his colleague MPs to shelve a motion of censure filed against him for his vandalization of procurement and statutory obligations in the sputnik heist.
Essentially, Agyeman Manu has appealed to equity with the dirtiest of hands.
By stepping up to testify against others, he has more than paved way for the motion to be passed to boot him out of office and he would thoroughly deserve to be shown the exit.
The other amusing thing about Agyeman Manu’s presence in court on Tuesday, was that he was led in oral testimony by Godfred Dame, who has developed the reputation of a zealous persecutor of political opponents while overlooking monstrous crimes committed by his friends in the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government.
For if it were not for selectivity, duplicity, and sheer abuse of prosecutorial powers, why should Agyeman Manu be walking a free man when his culpability for serious violations of our procurement laws is as clear as crystal.
How would a man against whom an iron-clad case of wrongdoing has been established by no less a body than parliament, even feel confident to testify in court against others if we were not being governed by a vindictive and atrociously selective government that is all too quick to sweep the lawlessness of its members under the carpet?
Many happenings in our country defy comprehension under this government and it beggars belief why they do but there is clarity about two things.
This government is on its way out of office after years of misrule and abuse of power.
When they eventually leave power, there will be no sanctuary for Agyeman Manu over his crimes in relation to the sputnik scandal.
He will surely return to court after the sun sets on his government but this time, he will be the one at the receiving end of testimony for his misdeeds.
Columnist: Anane Nsiah Dankwa