Dr Cassiel Ato Forson
Dr Cassiel Ato Forson

Govt ceased dealing with my company after contract - Businessman opens defence

The businessman charged alongside the Minority Leader, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, for allegedly causing financial loss of €2.37 million to the state in an ambulance deal, has told the High Court that his company dropped out of the ambulance transaction as soon as Big Sea signed the contract for the supply of the vehicles with the government. 


Richard Jakpa, is the Executive Chairman of Jakpa Business Limited (JBL), an agent representing Big Sea, the company the prosecution claims supplied “unfit” ambulances to the state.

Mounting the witness box, Mr Jakpa, who was led by his lawyer, Thaddeus Sory, explained that by a contract between the government and Big Sea, which sought to get Big Sea to supply 200 ambulances and other accessories to the state, JBL was never a party to the contract. 


He further told the court that the government ceased dealing with JBL after signing the contract with Big Sea, adding that it was, therefore, the mutual understanding between Big Sea, JBL and government that after the signing of the contract between Big Sea and the government, JBL's relationship with government would no longer exist and that it was only Big Sea and JBL which had a relationship.

“JBL, therefore, did not sign as the supplier of the contract. The contract made no provision for JBL to undertake any obligations in respect of the 200 ambulance vehicles delivery arrangement.

“The contract also did not make any provision for the payment to JBL of any funds arising out of the transaction involving the 200 ambulances by government from Big Sea,” he said in his witness statement read in open court yesterday.

No responsibility

As a result of this, he said JBL owed no responsibility to the government regarding the delivery of the ambulances to government by Big Sea whether in terms of quantity or quality.

He added that even if Big Sea had any obligations related to the contract for the 200 ambulances, such an obligation would only arise in the context of JBL's obligations to Big Sea as its agent.

Such an obligation, he said, would also, only be referable to the agency agreement between Big Sea and JBL but not to the contract for the purchase of the 200 ambulances since the contract covering the ambulance deal to the state was between Big Sea and the government.

The case has been adjourned to Tuesday, May 14, this year at the court presided over by Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe. 

Not guilty

Mr Jakpa and the Minority Leader 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 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.

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, a former Director of Ministry of Health, 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”.

Writer’s E-mail: [email protected]

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