Ato Forson to call 9 witnesses
Dr Cassiel Ato Forson

Ato Forson to call 9 witnesses

A former Deputy Minister of Finance, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, will call nine witnesses as part of his defence against a criminal case of allegedly causing financial loss of €2.37 million to the state in a deal to purchase 200 ambulances between 2014 and 2016.


Counsel for Dr Forson, Dr Aziz Bamba, who made this known last  Tuesday, April 18 at the Accra High Court, said some of the witnesses were outside the country  and, therefore, he had not been able to have conference with them.

He moved two applications for the court to grant his client more time to file the statements of the witnesses and also for disclosures by the prosecution.

The other accused persons- Sylvester Anemana, a former Chief Director of the Ministry of Health, and Richard Jakpa, a businessman, will respectively call six and five witnesses.

Court’s response

Although the court, presided over by Justice Afia Serwaa Asare-Botwe, a Justice of the Court of Appeal, with additional responsibility as a High Court judge, granted the two applications, she stated that she would not countenance anything that would delay the trial.

According to her, the witnesses could use technological means to write their statements, sign and send them for filing at the court.

“They can then be behind a computer somewhere and be cross-examined. It is my hope that by August 31 when we go on break, I will be done with all my pending cases so that I can attend to my duties at the Court of Appeal,” she said.

Justice Asare-Botwe gave the prosecution up to April 21, this year to file the disclosures, while the defence must file their witness statements and exhibits by May 24.

Hearing continues on May 9 for case management conference.

Not guilty

The court directed Dr Forson, who is currently the Minority Leader in Parliament, and the two other accused persons to open their defences after she ruled that the prosecution had established a prima facie case against them and subsequently dismissed their submissions of ‘no case’

The accused persons have 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.

Ambulance deal

Per the prosecution’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.

Mr 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 the Stanbic Bank for the supply of 200 ambulances to the government.

Parliament approved the financing agreement between the government and the Stanbic Bank.

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

The facts added that on August 7, 2014, Dr Forson wrote to the Bank of Ghana for letters of credit of €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 “not fit for purpose”.

Writer’s email: [email protected]

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