Ambulance case: Ato Forson drops three defence witnesses
Three defence witnesses of former Deputy Minister of Finance, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, will no longer testify in the ambulance case before the Accra High Court.
The defence witnesses – a former Comptroller and Accountant General, Seidu Kotomah, a former Chief Director at the Ministry of Health, Patrick Nimo, and a former Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Henry Kofi Wampah – were billed to testify in defence of Dr Forson.
But in court today [Oct 26, 2023], lawyer for Dr Forson, Godwin Edudzie Tameklo, told the Court presided over by Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe, that the three would no longer testify.
The court, therefore set aside a witness summons it issued in respect of Messrs Nimo and Kotomah.
Meanwhile, a former Minister of Health, Alex Segbefia, would be the next witness to testify for Dr Forson.
The case has been adjourned to November 9, 2023.
Dr Forson, who is also the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Ajumako Enyan Essiam and the Minority Leader of Parliament, is standing trial with Sylvester Anemana, a former Chief Director of the Ministry of Health, and Richard Jakpa, a businessman, for allegedly causing financial loss of €2.37 million to the state in a deal to purchase 200 ambulances for Ghana between 2014 and 2016.
They have, however, pleaded not guilty to five counts of wilfully causing financial loss to the state, abetment to wilfully cause financial loss to the state, contravention of the Public Procurement Act and intentionally misapplying public property.
It is the case of the prosecution that Dr Forson, by writing to the BoG for letters of credit of €3.95 million for the supply of 50 ambulances in favour of Big Sea, played a part in causing financial loss to the state since the ambulances procured for the state were not fit for purpose.
Per the A-G’s facts accompanying the charge sheet, 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.
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.
They 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.
The Letters of Credit were accordingly released to Big Sea.