The Ranking Member on Parliament’s Finance Committee, Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson, has asked the Attorney-General’s office to explain how he was able to sign a Cabinet Memo for the purchase of ambulances at a time he was not yet a Deputy Finance Minister.
Dr. Forson posed the question in a Facebook post on Thursday after the A-G’s office in a press statement asserted that he, in December 2011, effected an Executive Approval for the purchase of 200 ambulances.
“As stated in the facts of the case filed in court, on 22nd December, 2011, cabinet endorsed an executive approval of a joint memorandum submitted to cabinet by the then Minister for Health and the first accused, Cassiel Ato Forson, then Deputy Minister for Finance, for the purchase of 200 ambulances out of a medium-term credit facility of €15,800,000 between Stanbic Bank Ghana Limited and the Government of Ghana through the Ministry of Finance,” part of the statement signed by Deputy Attorney-General, Diana Asonaba Dapaah reads.
But Dr. Forson contends that the comments made by the A-G are inaccurate as he was appointed Deputy Minister of Finance in May, 2013 under the Mahama-led government.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Cabinet Memo for the purchase of the Ambulances was submitted in December, 2011. I became a Deputy Minister on the 2nd of May, 2013. How could I have signed a Cabinet Memo in December, 2011?” he quizzed.
Meanwhile, the Attorney-General’s office has reiterated that the pending suit has nothing to do with Dr. Forson’s opposition to the E-Levy Bill.
However, the Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam MP believes that the suit is a “sinister plot to needlessly tarnish my reputation and rob me of my liberty simply because I remain implacably opposed to the poor economic policies of this government and in particular the e-Levy.”
He added: “It is the Attorney General who is driven by hate, prejudice and demagoguery! He is the one abusing his prosecutorial powers to silence critical political opponents.”
On December 23, 2021, the Attorney-General’s office filed criminal charges against former Deputy Finance Minister, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson and two others for causing financial loss to the state in relation to the procurement of 200 ambulances by the late Prof. John Evans Atta Mills and John Mahama led government.
The suit also named Sylvester Anemana, Chief Director at the Ministry of Health at the time of the contract, and a businessman, Richard Jakpa, as persons of interest.
Documents filed by the A-G’s office traced the events culminating into the alleged crimes to an announcement made in the 2009 State of the Nation Address regarding plans to procure ambulances for the country.
The A-G said following this address, the Ministry of Health (MOH) initiated action to acquire more ambulances. The 3rd accused person, Richard Jakpa is said to have used his company, Jakpa at Business, to present a proposal and Term Loan to the Ministry of Health which he claimed to have arranged from Stanbic Bank to finance the supply of the 200 ambulances to the government.
Cabinet, according to the A-G, gave an Executive Approval for the project. However, it emerged later that the ambulances had some defects which render them not fit for purpose.
In response, Dr Forson described the charges as frivolous and demanded that government focuses on capturing the perpetrators who caused financial loss to the state instead of hunting innocent people.