CJ Dismisses Petition Against Ato Forson Trial Judge

Chief Justice, Gertrude Torkornoo


The Chief Justice, Gertrude Torkornoo, has dismissed a petition asking her to transfer the trial of Minority Leader and former Deputy Minister of Finance, Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson and two others accused of causing €2.37 million financial loss to the state to a different judge.

Richard Jakpa, a private businessman who is also standing trial for same offences and others, had petitioned the Chief Justice to remove the judge from the trial, alleging bias on her part as a result of an incident which occurred during one of the court’s sittings.

He had alleged bias because the trial judge on June 20, 2023, issued a stern warning to the accused person that it was the last time she would tolerate any disrespect from him and let him go home.

Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe, a Court of Appeal judge sitting as an additional High Court judge, yesterday indicated that the Chief Justice had written to Mr. Jakpa and copied the court in a letter dated July 18, 2023, indicating that the petition seeking the transfer of the case to a different court had been declined.

Meanwhile, the court is yet to rule on an application filed by counsel for Dr. Forson asking the trial judge to recuse herself from the trial due to allegations of bias.

The application alleges that the trial judge had threatened to have the MP’s summoned witnesses arrested and jailed if they failed to show up in court to testify.

This, it claims, breaches the accused person’s right to fair trial as he was unsettled by the court’s threats to have his witnesses arrested.

Dr. Aziz Bamba, counsel for the MP, was expected to move the application yesterday but he instead raised a preliminary objection to the judge hearing it because the allegations of bias were made against her.

He said the court is basically issuing threats against his client’s witnesses being locked up and the court consequently closing his case if his witnesses fail to show up.

The application was opposed by the Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, who averred that the argument that the court cannot hear this application is untenable, as the court which the allegation of bias was made against has jurisdiction to hear the application.

He said there is no actual bias demonstrated and all the orders the court made in the conduct of the case were within its jurisdiction to control proceedings.

Justice Asare-Botwe adjourned the case to October 12, 2023, to rule on the preliminary objection before deciding whether or not to consider the substantive application.

The court as a result did not hear an application filed by Dr. Forson asking it to release his passport to him.


The Attorney General yesterday concluded his cross-examination of former Chief Executive Officer of Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Alex Mould, who is Dr. Forson’s first witness.

The witness yesterday admitted that he could not see any request from the Ministry of Health accompanying Ato Forson’s letter to the Controller and Accountant General for the establishment of Letters of Credit for the purchase of the defective ambulances.

“Please look at exhibit A (letter written by first accused Dr. Forson), do you see any request accompanying it?” Mr. Dame asked.

“The only thing I see is reference made to the Supply Agreement,” the witness replied.

“So there was no request by the Ministry of Health accompanying exhibit A,” the Attorney General asked and Mr. Mould said, “I do not see any here but I cannot tell whether there was or not.”

BY Gibril Abdul Razak