‘AG’s frivolous suit to silence me on e-levy won’t work’- Dr. Ato Forson
Former Deputy Minister of Finance Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson says the frivolous suit by government and Attorney General to silence him on e-levy is dead on arrival and outmoded by birth”.
According to him, he did not authorize the payment for the procurement 200 ambulances as captures in the latest suit by Attorney General against him and two others for allegedly causing €2.37 million financial loss to the state.
In a sharp reaction to the suit at a press conference, Dr. Forson said “Charges against me are frivolous and attempt to silence me on e-levy. I didn’t authorize payment in that transactions. Since when did the ministerial letters of credit become an offence in Ghana? “.
The Ranking Member of the Finance Committee of Parliament Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, together with two others, has been dragged to the High Court on five counts of willfully causing financial loss to the state.
According to the facts of the case, Dr Ato Forson, then a Deputy Finance Minister, 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 noted.
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 tot he 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.
The charges were brought against the three by the state.
Meanwhile, Former Information Minister Felix Ofosu Kwakye says Dr. Ato Forson has been dragged to court by the AG because of his opposition to the controversial e-levy.
In a sharp reaction to the suit, Felix Ofosu Kwakye said “The current AG must know that he wouldn’t be in power forever. This is the most ridiculous suit I’ve ever seen. Government is continuos. So..if NDC government import something and NPP government later doesn’t like the specifications, you engage the supply to get what you want. Do you go around suing people ? I challenge Akufo-Addo to prosecute any of his appoitees in the face of numerous scandals in his government”.