Ambulance case: Court sets June 6 to rule on motions
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Ambulance case: Court sets June 6 to rule on motions

The High Court hearing the criminal case in which the Minority Leader and a businessman are standing trial for allegedly causing financial loss of € 2.37 million to the state has fixed Thursday June 6, 2024 to rule on four applications filed by the accused persons. 

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The applications are an order of enquiry into the conduct of the Attorney-General following the allegations made by Richard Jakpa to the effect that the A-G has been calling him at odd hours; an order of mistrial with the aim of terminating the case; a stay of proceedings until the application is determined; and a motion asking the court to strike out charges against the businessman. 

The Minority Leader and former Deputy Finance Minister, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson filed three of the motions while the last one was filed by the businessman.

When the case was called today, the court presided over by Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe, said she would make a determination based on the arguments canvassed in the legal documents filed for and in opposition to the motions. 

She, however, allowed counsel for Mr Jakpa to object to the affidavit in opposition filed by the Attorney-General regarding the motion seeking to strike out the charges against his client. 

Moving the motion, Thaddeus Sory, argued that the affidavit in opposition which had a Principal State Attorney as the deponent, failed to disclose the source of the information relating to his client’s direct interactions with the Godfred Dame. 

He added that the matters were not in his personal knowledge and, therefore, inadmissible on grounds of hearsay.

“Being a Principal State Attorney at A-G’s office does not mean that you have personal knowledge of direct interactions that took place between A-G and Jakpa,” counsel said making reference to matters that took place among the A-G, the judge and the accused person and his lawyers in chambers as well as those held at the residence of a Supreme Court judge. 

A-G

Mr Dame on the other hand, opposed to the submissions made by counsel for Mr Jakpa on grounds that they were completely unfounded and without any merit. 

“The manner in which the objection itself has been raised defeats the requirements of fairness,” he said adding that Mr Sory curiously did not state any particulars of the objection.

Mr Dame added that it was not accurate for Mr Sory to say that the deponent did not disclose the source of information. 

He further told the court that the Principal State Attorney had indicated that the matters came to his knowledge in the course of his work adding: “That’s the source.

Forson’s application 

In his three-pronged application, Dr Forson is of the view that the allegations made by Mr Jakpa, which are uncontested reflects a collusion between the prosecution and the businessman adding that it is a calculated agenda to incriminate him and desecrate and pervert the course of justice in the case. 

He averred that the conduct of the A-G shows, what he described as  egregious violations of his right to fair trial and seeks to sabotage the ends of justice, praying the court to restrain the A-G from continuing with the prosecution of the case. 

“That I believe that the Attorney-General's decision to file the nolle prosequi against a former Chief Director at the Ministry of Health at the time he did and the collusive conduct now revealed by Mr Jakpa are all part of an unwholesome and well-orchestrated scheme or enterprise by the Attorney-General aired solely at securing my conviction in this matter at all costs.

“That the impugned conduct stated above has caused me great apprehension and shaken my faith in the criminal proceedings. I say that this is an appropriate case for the court to order a mistrial or exercise its powers under its inherent jurisdiction to restrain the prosecution from further prosecuting this case or stay proceedings until the serious matters raised in this case against the A-G are inquired into and resolved,” Mr Forson averred. 

Jakpa’s motion 

In Jakpa’s motion seeking an order striking out the charges and terminating the proceedings, he argues that the charges and proceedings initiated by Attorney-General Godfred Yeboah Dame constitute an abuse of court processes and violate the obligations set in the 1992 Constitution.

He contended that the Attorney-General was misusing his constitutional powers by prosecuting him without justification.

Mr Jakpa also claimed that in private conversations, the Attorney-General admitted that there is no case against him.

A-G’s response 

Office of the Attorney General in affidavits in opposition avers that it is in the public interest that the case be brought to a firm conclusion based on the credible evidence before the court.

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In the case of Dr Forson, the affidavit in opposition argues that continuing his prosecution to its logical conclusion would uphold the principle of equality of all persons before the law and defeat the perception that the powerful and politically connected can get away with crimes because of undue pressure and false allegations.

Responding to claims by Jakpa, the affidavit in opposition indicates that although he levels many untrue and wild allegations against the Attorney General in his affidavit in support, none of them attacks the integrity of the court or questions any decision or action by the trial court which impedes the capacity of the court to administer justice in this case.

Prosecution’s facts 

Mr Jakpa and the Minority Leader have been accused of causing a financial loss of €2.37 million to the state in a deal to purchase 200 ambulances for the country between 2014 and 2016.

They have pleaded not guilty to counts of wilfully causing financial loss to the state, abetment to wilfully causing financial loss to the state, contravention of the Public Procurement Act and intentionally misapplying public property.

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Per the facts of the case presented by the prosecution, in 2009 while delivering the State of the Nation Address, the then President, Prof. John Evans Atta Mills, indicated that new ambulances would be purchased to expand the operations of the National Ambulance Service.

The facts said, Jakpa, who is a local representative of Big Sea General Trading Ltd, a company based in Dubai, subsequently approached the Ministry of Health with a proposal that he had arranged for finance from Stanbic Bank for the supply of 200 ambulances to the government.
Parliament approved the financing agreement between the government and Stanbic Bank.

According to the facts, on November 19, 2012, Dr Anemana wrote to the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) seeking approval to engage Big Sea through single sourcing for the supply of the 200 ambulances.

The facts added that on August 7, 2014, Dr Forson wrote to the Bank of Ghana for Letters of Credit covering €3.95 million for the supply of 50 ambulances in favour of Big Sea.

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The Letters of Credit were accordingly released to Big Sea.

It is the case of the prosecution that 10 of the ambulances delivered under the deal on December 16, 2014, were fundamentally defective with some not even having any medical equipment in them, causing a financial loss to the state.

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