Court orders arrest of businessman for causing financial loss of €2.37 million to the state
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Court orders arrest of businessman for causing financial loss of €2.37 million to the state

The High Court in Accra has issued a warrant for the arrest of Richard Jakpa, the private businessman standing trial with a former Deputy Minister of Finance, Dr Ato Forson.

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The two 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.

Absent 

When the case was called last Thursday, Mr Jakpa, who has sacked his lawyer and had opened his defence, was supposed to continue his testimony. He was, however, not in court. 

Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe, a Court of Appeal judge with additional responsibility as a High Court judge, said she had received a document purporting to be an excuse duty  sent to the clerk of the court via WhatsApp. 

Issuing the bench warrant, she said even though the document claimed to be a medical certificate it did not display his condition. 

“Unfortunately Jakpa dispensed with his lawyer and is yet to get a new one 

“We will err on the side of caution and issue a warrant for the arrest of the accused,” the judge said. 

The case has been adjourned to Tuesday, March 26, this year. 

Charges 

The two accused persons 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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