The Ministry of Health has denied allegations by policy think-tank IMANI Africa that the Ministry procured some 50,000 units of anti-snake serum under a suspicious deal.
In an open letter to the Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, IMANI among other issues demanded answers on the deal, specifically on allegations of the Ministry’s involvement in a bid evaluation suspected to have been rigged.
“1. We have been informed that as far back as August, 2018 there was an International competitive tender for the supply of 50,000 units of anti-snake serum. We have read allegations about your ministry’s involvement in bid evaluation rigging and overly intrusive interventions in the tender process. What is your version of this account?”, IMANI quizzed.
“2. We have been informed that these allegations truncated the approvals you sought from the Central Tender Review Committee and the Public Procurement Authority (PPA). Both institutions officially wrote to you not to proceed with the tender pending their investigations. What is the status of this public tender?” IMANI further demanded answers.
But in a response dated February 12, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Health, Nana Kwabena Adjei-Mensah, denied any wrongdoing, explaining the Ministry “followed the due process through a letter to the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) to carry out an international competitive tender for the supply of 50,000 units of anti-snake serum”.
Though the Ministry admitted that the tender process was indeed stopped to allow for investigations following complaints by firms that were aggrieved in the process, it said it was obliged to procure 20,000 units under emergency basis.
“Based on the letters received, the Ministry of Health suspended the tender process to allow the PPA to complete investigations into the allegations. This decision has been communicated to all the six firms that participated in the tender.
“Since the Ministry of Health has completely run out of stock of Anti-Snake Serum, it sought approval from PPA to procure 20,000 vials on an emergency basis from the last supplier of same as a stop-gap measure. This was to meet the immediate need of the nation and was never intended to disregard the outcome of the PPA’s enquiry,” the Ministry stated.
The Ministry further dismissed allegations by the policy think-thank that some anti-rabies supplied have been locked up in a warehouse because the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) refused to approve them to be used in Ghana.
According to the Ministry, “the only issue with the Anti-Rabies supplied by the company was the moisture content” which it said may not affect the efficacy of the product as claimed by IMANI.