Judge cautions Sammy Gyamfi over “Phone call to judge comments”
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Judge cautions Sammy Gyamfi over “Phone call to judge comments”

The National Communications Officer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has been cautioned over his comments on the trial in which the Minority Leader, Cassiel Ato Forson and one other are standing trial for causing financial loss to the state. 

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When the case was called Tuesday [May 28, 2024], the presiding judge, Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe, drew the court’s attention to a comment to the effect that an accused person could call a judge. 

Justice Asare-Botwe, who was not not comfortable with the comment, cautioned the parties about the public commentary on the matter. 

However, Mr Sammy Gyamfi, owned up to the exact statement the presiding judge was referring. 

According to him, he said; “If somebody can call an accused person without his lawyer then that person can call a judge”, emphasizing that he was not referring to the judge in the matter. 

The judge said the statement was of no moment urging him never to forget that he is a lawyer. 

“Don’t ever forget that you are a lawyer, for convenience sake, no lawyer ever does what you’re doing with the bench. 

“Assuming there’s any change, will you suddenly wash away all four hundred of us (judges) and get another, it’s the same bench”, Justice Asare-Botwe told Sammy Gyamfi after a back and forth between the bench and the bar. 

“Nobody should go out in the press saying somebody has called the judge, let’s all be circumspect,” she added. 

The judge further invited Mr Gyamfi, lawyers from the defence side and that of the Deputy Attorney General, as well as Marietta Brew Appiah-Opong, a former Attorney General and Minster of Justice. 

Meanwhile lawyers for Cassiel Ato Forson have filed an application to stay proceedings. 

The court is expected to make a determination on the application on Tuesday June 4, 2024. 

Background 

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.

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.

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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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