A former Deputy Minister of Information, Felix Kwakye Ofosu has said the National Democratic Congress (NDC) believes that former Deputy Minister of Finance Casiel Ato Forson and the government he served in, did not cause any financial loss to the state in the purchase of the ambulances.
Speaking to journalists in court on Tuesday January 18, Mr Kwakye Ofosu said all the necessary approvals and authorizations were sought in the agreement.
“We are clear in our minds that everything done on this subject matter on the purchase of ambulance was done in compliance with the laws and regulations of the Republic of Ghana. The necessary approvals and authorizations were sought. No payment was done irregularly.
“Indeed it is a deliberate action by the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government that has led to any semblance of lost. Dr Ato Forson and the government that he served are very clear in our minds that we have not occasioned any so called loss.
“As for the issue of prosecution, I think that it is quite clear because since the infamous 2022 budget was rejected on the night of 26th November 2021, over half of rousing NDC members have, suddenly, all manner of charges preferred against them in a deliberate effort to intimidate and cower them into submission because of the NDC’s irrevocable and implacable opposition to the obnoxious E-levy,” he said.
Ato Forson has pleaded not guilty to charges of willfully causing financial loss to the state.
He has been granted ¢3million bail by the court on Tuesday January 18.
According to the facts of the case, Dr Ato Forson, when he was a Deputy Finance Minister under the Mahama administration, executed a contract by the government of Ghana to purchase some 200 ambulances for the National Ambulance Service.
Despite the granting of a medium term loan facility of €15.8 million for the 200 ambulances, only 10 were shipped to Ghana in 2014.
“A post-delivery inspection of the first batch of 10 ambulances revealed that same were without any medical equipment in them.
“Other fundamental defects included defects on the body of the vehicles and the patient compartment of the ambulances,” the writ noted.
The two other accused are Sylvester Anemana, who was a Chief Director at the Ministry of Health, and Richard Jakpa, the Ghana representative of Dubai-based Big Sea General Trading Limited.
While Sylvester Anemana has been charged for abetment of crime namely wilfully causing financial loss to the state contrary to Sections 20(1) and 179A(3)(a) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 and breaching the Public Procurement Act, Richard Jakpa is on a charge of wilfully causing financial loss to the state “by intentionally causing vehicles purporting to be ambulances to be supplied to the Republic of Ghana by Big Sea General Trading Ltd of Dubai without due cause”.
Mr Ato Forson, who is the first accused, has additionally been charged for intentionally misapplying public property contrary to section 1(2) of the Public Property Protection Act, 1977.
He is said to have misapplied €2.37 million by causing irrevocable Letters of Credit to be established against the budget of the Ministry of Health in favour of the Dubai-based firm.
The charges were brought against the three by the state.