Ato Forson Petitions Chief Justice for Live Broadcast of Ambulance Trial

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Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson, the Minority Leader, has formally requested a live broadcast of his ongoing trial, in which he and a businessman are accused of causing a financial loss of €2.37 million to the state over an ambulance deal.

In a letter titled “Request for full media access, including live broadcast of subsequent court proceedings,” sent by his lawyer, Dr. Abdul Baasit Aziz Bamba, Forson argues that recent developments have significantly affected public perception of the case and the administration of justice.

Despite journalists being allowed to cover the trial since its inception, Forson is now seeking broader media access to ensure transparency.

The trial, presided over by Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe, has generated significant public interest, especially after businessman Richard Jakpa, co-accused in the case, alleged during cross-examination that the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice had been contacting him at odd hours.

The judge has cautioned both the prosecution and defense to be mindful of their public comments about the case. Dr. Ato Forson and Richard Jakpa are accused of causing a financial loss of €2.37 million to the state in a deal to purchase 200 ambulances between 2014 and 2016. They face charges of willfully causing financial loss to the state, abetment, contravention of the Public Procurement Act, and intentional misapplication of public property, to which they have pleaded not guilty.

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Prosecution’s Case

According to the Attorney-General’s office, the issue began in 2009 when then-President Prof. John Evans Atta Mills announced the purchase of new ambulances for the National Ambulance Service in his State of the Nation Address.

Jakpa, representing Big Sea General Trading Limited from Dubai, approached the Ministry of Health with a financing proposal from Stanbic Bank for the supply of 200 ambulances. Parliament approved the financing agreement, and in 2012, the Ministry of Health sought approval from the Public Procurement Authority to single-source the ambulances from Big Sea.

In 2014, Dr. Forson, then the Deputy Finance Minister, requested the Bank of Ghana to issue letters of credit totaling €3.95 million for 50 ambulances in favor of Big Sea. Ultimately, 30 ambulances were purchased for €2.37 million, but none met the required specifications, rendering them unfit for use.

The trial has been a focal point of public discourse, with calls for greater transparency in the legal process. Forson’s petition to Chief Justice Gertrude Sackey Torkonoo aims to ensure that the trial is fully accessible to the public, underscoring the importance of transparency in high-profile cases involving public funds and officials.

Source Graphic Online

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