Wednesday, 22 May

'If you've spent money on unusable vehicles, then there's a case to answer' – Court asks Ato Forson, 2 others to open defence in €3.9m defective ambulance procurement case

General News
Cassiel Ato Forson

Minority Leader Cassiel Ato Forson and two others have been ordered by an Accra High Court to open their defence in the ambulance case.

Dr Forson, who was a deputy minister of finance at the time the alleged unusable ambulances were procured, is standing trial with former Chief Director at the Health Ministry Seth Anemana and businessman Richard Jakpa.

They have been charged with wilfully causing financial loss to the state.

“If you have spent money on a vehicle that cannot be used, then there is a case to be answered,” Justice Asare Botwe ruled in court.

Dr Forson, as deputy minister, is said to have written a letter to the Bank of Ghana to establish letters of credit for the purchase of 50 ambulances at a cost of €3,950,000, representing 25 per cent of the contract sum while arrangements were being made to perfect and sign the loan agreement … "in favour of Big Sea”.

A total amount of €2,370,000 has been paid for the 30 defective ambulances.

Dr Forson is also alleged to have written to the Controller and Accountant-General, authorising the release of the sum of GH¢806,688.75 to the Minister of Health to enable him to pay the bank charges covering the cost establishment of the LC for the supply of 50 Mercedes Benz Ambulance and Related Services.

While the Attorney General contended that Dr Forson did not have the authority to write such a letter, the former deputy minister of finance insisted he did.

With regard to that letter, Justice Asare Botwe said: “It is a misapprehension of the law to state that the AG should have called Seth Terkper to prove that Dr Ato Forson did not have the authorisation to write the said letter.”

The court said once the AG stated that Dr Forson did not have such authority and Dr Forson replied that he had authority, the responsibility was on Dr Forson to show that he had authority.

The case would be called again on 13 April 2023.