A former Deputy Minister of Information, Felix Kwakye Ofosu, has blamed the Akufo-Addo government for neglecting some ambulances that were procured by the erstwhile National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration.
A former Deputy Minister of Finance under the Mahama administration, Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson, and some 2 others have been hauled before court for causing financial loss to the state in the purchase of the said ambulances.
Forson in court on Tuesday, January 18 2022 denied all charges brought against him by the state, although the state stands by its claim.
Speaking to Mugabe Maase on Inside Politics on Power 97.9 FM after the court hearing, Kwakye Ofosu who is the spokesman for Dr. Ato Forson urged Ghanaians to blame the Akufo-Addo government for any financial loss they are referring to in the matter.
“Every necessary approval and authorizations were sought in the agreement the NPP government wants to term as fraudulent,” the former minister stated in Akan. “If there is any loss done the state, then it is the Akufo-Addo government that should be blamed for neglecting the ambulances.”
He noted that the ambulances could have been put to use when those that procured them provided equipment to be fixed in them and make them useful but the NPP government decided to ignore the vehicles.
Earlier in court, he had told journalists that the purchase of the ambulances “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… Dr Ato Forson and the government that he served are very clear in our minds that we have not occasioned any so-called loss,” he added.
“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, the Ranking Member of the Finance Committee of Parliament, 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 stated.
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.