AG Rejects Ato Forson Payment Plan

AG Rejects Ato Forson Payment Proposal


The Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice has rejected a proposal by Big Sea on behalf of businessman, Richard Jakpa, who is standing trial alongside Minority Leader and former Deputy Minister of Finance, |Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson for causing €2.37 million financial loss to the state.

The proposal, according to a confidential source, sought to pay the cedi equivalent of €2 million in two tranches – €500,000 upon settlement of the agreement and a further €1.5 million spread over a period of six months.

The company as part of the proposal is also seeking Government of Ghana to return the 30 defective ambulances with all the accessories they came once repayment has been made, as well discontinue the criminal prosecution of all three accused persons.

The proposal sent to the Attorney General indicates that it was necessitated by Big Sea’s desire to protect its interest across West African sub-region, especially when it is not part of the ongoing trial, hence would not have the opportunity to defend itself against allegations that irreparably damage its reputation and business interest.

But the Office of the Attorney General has rejected the terms proposed by the company for various reasons, among which include the fact that the proposed money does not make up for the entire money the state lost as result of the purchase of the 30 defective ambulances, which according to trial documents are ordinary buses and do not meet the specification of an ambulance.

Another reason for the rejection of the proposal, DAILY GUIDE understands, is that the proposal only covers one of the three accused persons and there is no admission of guilt by Mr. Jakpa or any of the accused persons with respect to the charges levelled against them.

Dr. Forson was expected to open his defence last Thursday but the court had to adjourn the case to allow Mr. Jakpa to further negotiate with the Office of the Attorney General on the proposal put forward.

It is not clear if any changes have been made to the previous proposal and if the AG maintains its stance, then Dr. Forson, barring any last-minute changes, would open his defence today.

Dr. Ato Forson, Sylvester Anemana, a former Chief Director at the Ministry of Health, as well as private businessman, Richard Jakpa, are standing trial for willfully causing financial loss of €2.37 million to the state, through a contract to purchase 200 ambulances for the Ministry of Health, among other charges.

An Accra High Court on March 30, 2023, ordered Dr. Forson and two others to open their defence in a trial in which they are accused of purchasing defective vehicles as ambulances for the Ministry of Health.

The court, presided over by Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe, a Court of Appeal judge sitting as an additional High Court judge, in a ruling held that the three had a case to answer in the charges of causing financial loss and others levelled against them by the Office of the Attorney General in a deal that saw the state spending €2.37 million on the defective ambulances.

She held that both the prosecution and the defence teams admit in one way or the other that the ambulances that were imported were defective, so “If you have spent money on a vehicle that cannot be used, then there is a case to be answered.”

The prosecution, led by the Attorney General and Minster for Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame and Director of Public Prosecutions, Yvonne Atakora-Obuobisa, closed its case on February 14, 2023 after calling five witnesses, including the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu to prove its case.

The main issue raised during the prosecution’s case was whether the defective vehicles were purchased in accordance with the purchase agreement approved by Parliament.

The other was whether Dr. Forson was authorised by the substantive Finance Minister or any superior officer to write a letter to the Controller and Accountant General directing the establishment of irrevocable Letters of Credit (LCs) which led to the payments.

The Attorney General, in a written submission to establish the prosecution’s case, asserted that Dr. Forson was criminally reckless in not ensuring that the terms of the agreement were adhered, and that resulted in the institution of the criminal case against him.

Dr. Forson, in submission, argues that he wrote the letter on behalf of the then substantive Minister of Finance, Seth Terkper. The AG disagrees with the assertion and argues that the letters were written with no authorisation from any quarters.


BY Gibril Abdul Razak