Ato Forson Ambulance case: 'It’s inaccurate to claim ambulances are unfit for purpose' - Jakpa

Ato Forson Ambulance case: 'It’s inaccurate to claim ambulances are unfit for purpose' - Jakpa

Ato Forson’s Ambulance case:  “Ambulances that arrived were not meant to be used immediately” — Businessman Richard Jakpa tells court


The businessman accused with the Minority Leader of causing financial loss to the state has told the Accra High Court that there is no basis for the ambulances to be declared as unfit for purpose.

Explaining under cross-examination by counsel for Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, Dr Abdul Bamba, the businessman, Mr Jakpa said the ambulances were not meant to be used immediately.

He said after the ambulances had been delivered, his principal, Big Sea was supposed to provide technical support to train paramedics in Ghana on how to use the equipment in the ambulance, before officially handing the vans over to government for commissioning and usage.

“So the  claim by prosecution and the judge that all parties have agreed that the ambulances were not fit for purpose is factually inaccurate.

“I have never admitted in this court that the ambulances were not fit for purpose. Because they were not meant to be used in the first place,” he said adding that the post delivery inspection report that declared the ambulances as unfit for purpose was alien to the terms of agreement between his Big Sea and the government.

“That post delivery inspection was conducted unilaterally by the buyer in breach of the agreement in order to cover up for the various breaches on government’s part notably their refusal to undertake the pre-delivery inspection. 

“It was orchestrated to discredit and sabotage the ambulance project which unfortunately has led to this court proceedings here since 2022 even though all those mischiefs that were orchestrated had been resolved by the invocation of the dispute resolution clause among the parties in the contract,” he told the court presided over by Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe on Thursday.


Explaining further, Mr Jakpa told the court that on the assumption of office by the current New Patriotic Party (NPP) government in 2017, he personally approached the Minister of Health Kwaku Agyemang-Manu and implored him to clear the accessories accompanying the vans at the port. 

He told the court that he did so because the Minister of Health under the National Democratic Congress government, Mr Alex Segbefia wrote to the Ministry of Finnace in 2016 that all the issues concerning the ambulance implementation has been resolved. 

He said after showing the letter to Mr Manu, who was the third person to be called by the prosecution, he acknowledged seeing the letter but said since there is a new government in power, the ambulance project was being handled at his party’s headquarters adding that “They (NPP government) were also going to get their businessmen to order new ambulances so they can make money for their businessmen. 

“So NDC will have to come back and clear their mess and true to it, he (Mr Manu) refused to implement these two documents and they went ahead and ordered the same Mercedes Benz vans 311, got another third party which converts vans of any manufacturer in the world into ambulances like Big Sea also converted these Mercedes Benz vans into ambulances and they eventually shipped the new vans and they fixed them in Ghana and distributed them which are now roaming on our street which is no different from the ambulances that Big Sea had shipped and the accessories also shipped,” he said.


Dr Forson and Jakpa have been accused of causing 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 willfully 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.

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 Limited, 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.


The facts said 30 ambulances were purchased at a sum of €2.37 million but all were found not to have met ambulance specifications and therefore “not fit for purpose”.

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