Dame comes face-to-face with Jakpa

Godfred Yeboah Dame, Attorney-General (A-G) and Minister for Justice, has finally come face-to-face with Richard Jakpa, third accused (A3) in the ongoing ambulance trial, who alleged that the former had sought for  his cooperation to jail Dr. Cassiel Baah Ato Forson, Minority Leader in Parliament and former minister for Finance and Economic Planning.

The A-G stepped up to prosecute A3 yesterday at 2:49 pm, despite being strongly advised by the sitting judge, Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe, not to have direct involvement in the case.

Since May 23, 2024 bombshell by A3 and the ruling on five applications on June 6, 2024 Yvonne Atakora-Obuobisa, Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) had been cross-examining the accused.

But at yesterday’s sitting, Mr Tuah Yeboah, the Deputy Attorney General started the cross-examination in the purchase of 30 out of 200 ambulances at the cost of €2.37 million.

Mid-way into the cross examination, Mr. Dame took over  from his deputy, Alfred Tuah Yeboah and subjected Mr. Jakpa to questioning on matters relating to his testimony on the secretly recorded audio, exhibits on the ambulance contract, as well as why he (A3) was released from the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF).

He premised his questions on the incorporation of Jakpa’s company, Jakpa@business, as well as Big Sea Medical.

According to the A-G, A3 is not just the owner of Jakpa@business, but has acted as Chairman, Executive Director and Secretary to the Board, and A3 drew salaries and commissions from the company based on these positions.

He alleged that one Lawrence Sackey, who was reportedly the Managing Director of Jakpa@business, was in truth not the one managing the company.

Furthermore, Mr. Jakpa was paid 28.7 per cent (%) representing €700,000 of the €2.37 million paid to Big Sea Medical by the Government of Ghana.

Mr. Dame further informed the court that Jakpa@business Principal, Big Sea was registered on April 9, 2015 and all hell broke loose after this question was put to A3.

In response, Jakpa told the court that the question was exposing A-G’s ignorance in International Corporations and that the document being referenced was not registration of business, but a renewal certificate of existing company.

The court had to intervene, reminding A3 that he was not talking to the A-G but the court, therefore, he must exercise decorum in his answer.

By this, A3’s legal counsel, Thaddeus Sory, was also invited to advice his client. The A-G, on the other hand, told the court that A3 was at liberty to insult him.

A3 later explained that Big Sea was incorporated rather in 2008 and the document that the A-G was referring to was International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) certification, which is subject to yearly renewal by Big Sea.

He explained that Big Sea applies for ISO certification because it is into ambulance manufacturing, therefore, the need to meet global standardisation.

Jakpa also told the court that the prosecution assertion that he approached Big Sea after parliamentary approval, was palpable falsehood, saying the agency agreement was signed on May 5, 2011 whereas the parliamentary approval was on November 1, 2012.

While the A-G said the joint memorandum by the ministries of Finance and Health submitted to cabinet did not mention Big Sea, but the loan facility to be outsourced from Stanbic Bank, the accused said jakpa@busniess Principal could not have been mentioned at that stage.

Fantes are ‘cheap’

Mr. Tuah Yeboah, during an earlier cross-examination of A3, denied the assertion that Mr. Dame had referred to Fantes as cheap.

In fact, the A-G himself stated in open court that he could not have insulted fantes because he attended Adisadel College in the Central region and also had his primary education there.

The deputy A-G further stated that there was no occasion that Mr. Dame had told the accused that President Akufo-Addo and Kenneth Ofori-Atta, former Minister for Finance, were on his neck to complete the case by first week of May, this year.

According to him, the audio which A3 had tendered in court was not the full complement of the 26 minute WhatsApp conversation between the accused and the A-G.

Furthermore, Mr. Tuah indicated that the A-G suggested excuse duty to the accused because the former had earlier told him (Dame) that he (A3) was not well.

On the seal on the LC, the deputy A-G said it was not the seal of the then Minister for Finance, Seth Terkper, but his deputy, Cassiel Ato Forson (A1).

He added that Jakpa conveniently leaked part of the audio that would make his case better.

Jakpa, in response to the A-G’s denial to his allegation, stated that he felt it necessary to record Mr. Dame, upon the realisation that their conversation after 9 to 10 minutes was entering into the realm of criminality.

Theory of the case

A3 added that the A-G was impressing upon him to agree to the theory of the case and the reason he sought for clarification from him whether to answer questions in a certain manner and Mr. Dame said yes.

He said the day that Mr. Dame was urging him to procure excuse duty, he was very fit and in fact, he was driving to see his lawyer at the Workers’ College.

“…he was convincing me to commit a crime and lie to you, my Lord, and also to be economical with the truth so he can get A1 convicted. And for me, that boarded on criminality so I activated my recording device. Even though we spoke for 26 minutes, I recorded it 15 to 16 minutes,” the court was told.

A3 stressed that because Mr. Dame had so much confidence in him, he assigned him to spy on Dr Sylvester Anemana (A2) who has been discharged for health reasons and the response was delivered in a matter of 8 minutes.

Mr. Jakpa also said it is true that the A-G had told him that the President and the former Finance Minister were forcing him to jail A1 by the first week of May, saying it happened in the house of Supreme Court judge, Yonny Kulendi.

According to him, the phrase ‘Fantes are cheap’ were the exact words of the A-G and even added that since the Central region is a swing region, the government will pump money to win the electoral votes.

Release from the Ghana Armed Forces

The prosecution tendered documents procured from the Ministry of Defence, stating why Lieutenant R. Jakpa was released from the Army.

Though the tendering of the document, which  was authored by  Brigadier General M. K. Ahenaglo for the Chief of Defence Staff was objected to by Mr. Sory for being offensive to Section 60 of the Evidence Act, the court admitted it on Section 126, which deals with official records.

After the adoption of the document dated October 22, 2007 into evidence, the deputy A-G urged Mr Jakpa to read its content. From what was read to the court, A3 was released for unsatisfactory conduct, insubordination and indebtedness to several people and institutions, including the RCCE Regiment, which he owed $300 and same had to be deducted from his salary.

Again, Jakpa’s bad conduct is not a good example by all standards, as his conduct is shameful and regrettable.

A3, however, stated that the document is alien to him and that he has never seen it before or addressed to him.

Tight Security

The court had quite unusual security presence yesterday. Men who looked like the police stormed the court, dictating who should enter the court yard.

Some of them wore mask, making it difficult to identify, which of the security units they were coming from. The usual security checks are normally conducted by the Judicial Service security and the Court Warrant officers.

The Public

Apart from some minority Members of Parliament (MPs) and some sympathisers of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) who visit the court on regular basis, yesterday also saw some chiefs and elders from Besease, visiting the court.


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