Minority Leader

Minority Leader and former Deputy Minister of Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson, has indicated his intention to call nine (9) witnesses in the ongoing trial in which he and two others have been accused of causing financial loss to the state.

Some of the witnesses, according to his lawyer, include the Chief Director at the Ministry of Finance and the Controller and Accountant General.

In all, the three accused persons will be calling 20 witnesses as counsel for Sylvester Anemana indicated they will be calling six (6) witnesses while counsel for Richard Jakpa also indicated that they will be calling five (5) witnesses.

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.”

Dr 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.

The trial was scheduled for case management yesterday but Dr Abdul Basit Aziz Bamba, counsel for Dr Forson, told the court he had filed two applications, one seeking leave to file witness statements and the other asking the prosecution to disclose certain documents.

He is asking for five separate documents, that include warrant of payment detailing the person who authorised the Bank of Ghana to establish the Letters of Credit.

He sought leave to file the witness statements out of time because according to him, some of their witnesses are out of the country and he has not been able to have conference with them.

Justice Asare-Botwe gave the prosecution up to April 21, 2023, to file the disclosures demanded by Dr Forson.

The defence lawyers were given up to May 4, 2023, to file their witness statements as well as exhibits. The case was adjourned to May 9 for case management.

Meanwhile, Justice Asare-Botwe has expressed her intention to conclude the case by August 31, 2023, when the court goes on legal break.

She said a new judge who will be replacing her at the High Court would be taking over in a few days so she intends to conclude all her pending cases so she could attend to her duties at the Court of Appeal.

After learning that the accused intends to call 20 witnesses, she said she would talk to her superior so a court would be dedicated for the hearing of the case.