Ato Forson closes defence after calling 3 witnesses

Minority leader in Parliament, Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson, has closed his defence without mounting the witness box to testify.

The Legislator is falling solely on the testimonies of Henry Myles Mills, an official of Stanbic Bank, Alex Kofi Mensah Mould, former Chief Executive Officer of Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and Seth Terkper, former Minister for Finance, for his defence.

Godwin Edudzi Tamekloe, one of Dr. Forson’s lawyers, announced this to the Financial and Economic Division of the Accra High Court, presided over by Court of Appeal judge with additional duty of the high court, Justice Afia Serwah Asare Botwe, on Thursday.

Initially, the lawmaker had intended to call nine witnesses, but the number was subsequently dropped to six, then to three.

Some of the witnesses who were not called to testify by Dr Forson, first accused in the €2.37 million ambulance case were former minister for Health, Alex Segbefia, former Comptroller and Accountant General, Seidu Kotomah, a former Chief Director at the Ministry of Health, Patrick Nimo and a former Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Henry Kofi Wampah.

Witnesses’ testimonies

Henry Myles Mills, in his testimony before the court, stated that truly the government approached Stanbic Bank to assist with the purchase of some ambulances, but the deal was not successful.

The second defence witness (DW2), Alexander Kofi Mensah Mould, although stated that he has no personal knowledge of the authorisation for the establishment of the Letter of Credit (LCs) to the Bank of Ghana for the payment of the 200 ambulances, added that there was no way the Bank of Ghana or any other bank would set up an LC on the basis of the letters written by Dr Forson.

DW2 explained that the only document required in the establishment of such an LC would be the application forms filled by the applicant for the LC, which in this case was the Ministry of Health.

Mr Terkper, on his part, admitted that he authorised the Minority Leader, who was then his deputy under the erstwhile Mahama administration to establish the LC.

However, he stated under cross-examination that he has no proof to show that he authorised his deputy to establish the LC.

The former Minister for Finance further argued that LCs are not necessarily payment, but certain conditions needed to be met first.


Dr. Forson has been accused, together with former Health Ministry Director, Dr. Sylvester Anemana and local representative of Big Sea, suppliers of the ambulances, Richard Jakpa.

The three 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.

Dr. Anemana opens defence

The former Director at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Anemana, during cross-examination by Mr. Tamakloe told the court that at the time he wrote two letters, dated November 5 and 19, 2012, the lawmaker was not a deputy Minister for Finance.

He also answered in the affirmative that the Legislator did not know the content of the two letters, which were addressed to Public Procurement Authority (PPA) for sole sourcing and clarification matters respectively.

Dr. Anemana, while being crossed examined by Counsel for Richard Jakpa, agreed that the Ministry of Health paid Jakpa@Business Limited by an order of court.

A2 further agreed with the counsel that second payment for the purchase of the ambulances was stalled, due to discrepancies in the document.

Dr. Anemana’s evidence in chief

Contained in his written evidence-in-Chief, Dr. Anemana stated that he had worked with the Public/Civil service for 33 years and retired on September 21, 2015.

Before his retirement, A2 recalled that somewhere in September 2010, when he was the Chief Director at Ministry of Health, Jakpa@Business Ltd, a local partner of Big Sea General Trading LLC of Dubai, submitted a proposal to the Ministry for the supply of 200 Mercedes Benz ambulances to government, at a total cost of €15.8 million.

According to him, the said proposal was attached with a proposed financing scheme and Term Sheet from Stanbic Bank Ghana Ltd, purposely for financing the purchase of the ambulances.

Based on the proposal and Term Sheet from Stanbic Bank, he wrote to the Ministry of Finance to advice on the acceptability of the lending terms as provided.

The Ministry of Finance also replied him in January 2011, indicating that Stanbic Bank Term Sheet was acceptable for Government borrowing.

The Speaker of Parliament and the Minister for Health at the time, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin presented a Memorandum to Cabinet for consideration and approval was conveyed to Ministry of Health in January 2012.

Subsequently, Parliament approved the loan facility between the Republic of Ghana and Stanbic Bank Ltd for the purchase of the ambulances on November 1, 2012.

Upon approval by Parliament, A2 put together all relevant documents and made a request to Public Procurement Authority, by a letter dated November 5, 2012 to sole source the ambulances from Big Sea Trading LLC, which was approved by PPA.

He further told the court that after the approval, another letter, dated November 12, 2012 was sent to the PPA for clarification.

It was his testimony that after following PPA’s due procedures, the Health Ministry made a request to Big Sea LLC Trading to supply the ambulances at the stated amount.

Similarly, in September 2012, the then Chief Director wrote and submitted a draft Supply Agreement to the Attorney General for its review and legal opinion on the agreement for the finalisation of the contract.

Based on the Attorney General’s advice, the drafted agreement was revised in line with the recommendations made.

On November 5, 2012 Dr. Anemana wrote to Big Sea Trading to provide the Ministry with information needed for a Value for Money (VFM) audit to be undertaken.

The agreement between Blg Sea Trading and the Republic of Ghana was finally signed on December 19, 2012 by the sector Minister Alban Bagbin, which the then Chief Director witnessed.

While the process to procure the ambulances was still ongoing, the Chief Director moved to the Ministry of Environment Science and Technology to occupy same position in February 2013.

However, when he was transferred back to the Ministry of Health as the Chief Director in early 2015, was confronted with same ambulance issues, adding only 10 had arrived in December 2014, and followed that by writing to the CEO of the National Ambulance Service.

He recalled that the Transport Manager of MOH informed him that the ambulances had no equipment in them.

But he was told that the sector minister at the time, Sherry Ayittey, did not adhere to Big Sea invitation and did not approve the pre-destination inspection request by Big Sea.

He wrote a letter to Big Sea on February 11, 2015 and in the company’s response dated February 23, 2015 invited three key officers from the ministry to Dubai to address the issue.

However, he retired in the same year after a successful renegotiation of the contract.


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