Full Statement : NPP Responds To NDC On Ato Forson/Jakpa Trial Issues

Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen of the media and thank you for honouring our invitation.

It is not in dispute that, the justice delivery system is arguably the last bastion of our burgeoning constitutional democracy, and if it is constantly being bastardized by people who ought to in the very least, be responsible and know better, it leaves much to be desired. We owe it to ourselves and posterity to rescue our dear Country from this ‘dark canker’ by those who’ve made it their ‘stock in trade’ to spew vitriol and unapologetically take shots at a system they have little or no faith in at all
We have called you here because the NDC have since last week set in motion a malicious scheme fueled by lies, falsehoods, misrepresentations, blackmail and needless pollution of the mass media, with the sole intention of obstructing the course of justice and scandalising the criminal proceedings in the High Court, to shield ATO FORSON (MP), Minority
Leader in Parliament and former Deputy Minister of Finance, and his associates from taking responsibility for authorizing some payments which resulted in a whooping sum of 3.27 million Euros being lost by the state— monies that belonged to you and I as Ghanaians.
Ladies and Gentlemen, How did we get here?
On 22nd December, 2011, Cabinet endorsed an executive approval of a
joint memorandum submitted to Cabinet by the then Minister for Health and 1st accused Cassiel Ato Forson, then Deputy Minister for Finance, for the purchase of 200 ambulances out of a medium term credit facility of €15,800,000.00 between Stanbic Bank Ghana Limited and the Government of Ghana through the Ministry of Finance.
On 1st November, 2012, the Parliament of Ghana granted approval for the
financing agreement between Stanbic Bank Ghana Limited and the Government of Ghana for the purchase of the 200 ambulances. By an agreement dated 19th December, 2012, the Government of Ghana
contracted a company in Dubai, described as Big Sea General Trading LLC (Big Sea) whose local agent is 3rd Accused, Richard Jakpa and which company was to supply the 200 ambulances to the Government, even though that company was unknown to the Cabinet and Parliamentary approvals regarding the transaction.
By the terms of the agreement, advance payment for the contract was prohibited. Payment for the vehicles was stated in the agreement to be through letters of credit established for twenty-five percent of the
Contract Price “upon the delivery of every fifty (50) Ambulance Vehicles”.
On 7th August, 2014, in disregard of the financing arrangement for the
transaction approved by both Cabinet and the Parliament of Ghana, 1st
accused, Cassiel Ato Forson authorised the Bank of Ghana to “urgently
establish the letters of credit for the supply of 50 ambulances amounting
to EUR3,950,000.00, representing 25 percent of the contract sum”. At this
time, not a single ambulance had been delivered.
On 12th August, 2014, 1st accused also directed the Controller and
Accountant-General to pay the sums of GHC806,688.75 representing bank
charges covering the establishment of letters of credit for the supply of 50
ambulances, and further directed for the amount to be charged against
the Capital Expenditure Vote for the Ministry of Health.

Ladies and Gentlemen, all these directives by 1st accused, Cassiel Ato Forson were contrary to the agreement for the supply of the ambulances as well as the Parliamentary approval regarding the financing of the transaction. It is also important to note, that Ato Forson’s authorisation of payment for the transaction was without any request from the Ministry of Health. In fact, the Ministry of Health had asked Big Sea to stop producing the ambulances as there was no valid contract regarding the transaction. In spite of that, Ato Forson without cause, proceeded to authorise payment for the ambulances.
Pursuant to the unlawful directives of 1st accused, Ato Forson, Big Sea shipped 30 vehicles in three consignments between October, 2014 and February, 2015, which were fundamentally defective and lacking in the basic requirements for an ambulance. This was confirmed by a letter
written by the then Minister for Health, Dr. Alex Segbefia and other assessments by the National Ambulance Service. In point of fact, Alex Segbefia, in a letter to Big Sea, described the ambulances as “ordinary
vans”—to wit, trotro. These vehicles were never used and could not be used as ambulances during the Mahama Administration.
Following the change of Government in 2017, investigations commenced
and statements were taken from several people including the incumbent
Speaker of Parliament, Mr. Kwaku Agyeman-Mensah, Madam Sherry
Ayittey (Deceased) and Dr. Alex Segbefia, all of whom were former Health Ministers as well as 1st Accused, Cassiel Ato Forson and other persons such as the 3rd Accused.
Out of these many people, the Attorney-General, convinced that the willful act of Cassiel Ato Forson had resulted in a financial loss of 2.37 million euros to the state, charged him before the high court together with Sylvester Anemana, former chief Director of the Ministry of Health and Richard Jakpa a businessman, for causing financial loss, abetment to causing financial loss and misapplying public property.

Ladies and Gentlemen, proceedings in the matter have run its course since
commencement in December 2021. The Prosecution, led by the competent Attorney-General, called Five (5) Witnesses in support of its case.
Lawyers for the 1st accused, in an attempt to truncate the proceedings, filed a submission of no case and urged the Court to rule that Cassiel Ato Forson had no case to answer as no prima facie case has been made against him. This plea was outrightly rejected by the Court presided over by Justice Afia Serwaa Asare Botwe, a justice of the Court of Appeal sitting as an additional High Court Judge. The Court ruled, that the Attorney- General, had led sufficient evidence to establish a case against Ato Forson and therefore ordered him to open his defence. Ato Forson subsequently opened his defence and has also closed his case.
The 3rd Accused, Richard Jakpa also opened his case and was last
Thursday being cross-examined when he made a scandalous, malicious,
baseless and spurious allegation that the Attorney General had approached on several occasions to skew his testimony to implicate Ato Forson.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is no secret that the NDC since the commencement of Ato Forson’s
prosecution has threatened rain and storm against Government, the Attorney-General and any person they can find to cajole the Attorney General from discontinuing the prosecution. Pressure has come from
every angle including former President Mahama, the Leadership of the
Minority in Parliament, clergy, business friends of Ato Forson etc. Indeed, Former President Mahama specifically maintained the discontinuance of the Ambulance Trial as a condition to get Members of the minority in Parliament to agree to the recent recall of Parliament and has on several other occasions, stated it as a condition for the cooperation of the Minority in Parliament.
This pressure stems from some warped and baseless logic of the NDC that the Ato Forson’s prosecution is politically motivated and its Leader in Parliament, should be immune from prosecution even when the facts indicate conduct resulting in financial loss to the state. As mentioned
earlier, investigations commenced as far back as 2017 making it imperative to ask, “Why is Ato Forson the only government official being prosecuted from all the former NDC Ministers from whom statements were taken?”.Clearly, the prosecution is based on the various documentation available from the participating agencies in the transaction and this is evidenced by the Court’s ruling upholding that a case has been made by the Attorney General that warrants an answer from the defence. It is also worth noting, that prosecution of Cassiel Ato Forson commenced even before he became Minority Leader making worthless and nonsensical the suggestion that
he is being prosecuted because he is minority leader of the NDC.

Ladies and Gentlemen, if at all, the only persecution in this instance is the
malicious and perennial dislike of the NDC towards the Attorney General since he assumed office, and the several attempts to stultify his work. The records are there to show that right from his appointment as Attorney General, the NDC has spent one of the longest periods in vetting him with the hope of impeaching his appointment but the Attorney General remained resolute to their admiration. Having failed, the NDC filed a Motion for Censure to remove Godfred Dame from office as
Attorney-General soon after his appointment which also failed. The NDC have since his appointment held over twelve(12) Press Conferences against the person of the Attorney General.
The latest allegation by Richard Jakpa, the 3rd accused and an associate of Cassiel Ato Forson in this botched Ambulance procurement transaction, is therefore only a further ploy, contrived to curtail the prosecution of Ato Forson and smear the Attorney General’s integrity and reputation. But this would also not see the light of day as we believe firmly that public officials, regardless of social standing must be equally accountable for their use of public
resources. Needless to say that the law is no respecter of persons SPURIOUS ALLEGATIONS OF RICHARD JAKPA- 3RD ACCUSED.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the allegations by Richard Jakpa that the AG has
on several occasions met him in privately at odd hours, in person and on phone to coax him to testify to implicate the Attorney General is at complete variance with the prevailing facts. In fact, the attempt to selectively present facts without the whole, is telling of intentions of the 3rd Accused.
For the record:
a. It is unacceptable, that Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, runs a commentary over the alleged tape calculated to prevent you the Ghanaian people from making your own deduction reasoned judgment. b. Again, even though from the screenshots displayed, the alleged conversation is 26 mins, the NDC schemed to play only 16 minutes.
The question then is, where is the rest of the tape. Even in respect of what was played, it is apparent that there are repetitions, overlaps, incoherence, voice overs and distortions, demonstrating that, the NDC has spent these past days doctoring whatever tape they played.
c. Even on the Doctored tape, the Attorney General never requested the witness falsify, fabricate or concoct any evidence or testify in the prosecution’s favour.
d. Again, on the question of who initiated the meeting, even from the NDC’s presentation, it is clear that any meeting at all was mooted and initiated by the 3rd accused.
e. We would like to also put on record, that as of February 2022 when Jakpa requested for a meeting with the AG, the AG never met him and never made any arrangement through the Supreme Court
Justice, Emmanuel Yonny Kulendi. It was not until the AG was invited to the residence of Justice Yonny Kulendi in 2023 that he surprisingly met Richard Jakpa at the residence.
f. We remain resolute that the Attorney General has never approached 3rd Accused for any conversation, let alone request him to skew his testimony against 1st accused, Cassiel Ato Forson. The
only meeting at which the Attorney General, met the 3rd Accused was in the residence of a Supreme Court Judge, His Lordship Justice Emmanuel Yonny Kulendi who about six (6) weeks ago, requested
to see the Attorney General. It is not out of place for the Attorney General to visit the said Justice upon request. More so, when the two were friends even before the elevation of the latter to the Supreme Court.
g. Again, the Attorney General at the time of the invitation was unaware that the 3rd Accused person was going to be present and therefore his subsequent appearance in the house of the Justice was surprising. It is pertinent to note, that prior to this meeting, the Attorney General had closed his case and the Court had thrown out
the application of Ato Forson as being without merit.The 3rd accused had also by four different letters by his lawyers, requested and made proposals to the Attorney General for a Plea Bargain
which would see Big Sea General, 3rd accused’s principal pay 2 million Euros in exchange for the cessation of prosecution. This had been roundly rejected by the Attorney General. In fact, 3rd Accused through his lawyers in the letter dated 16th May, 2023 had indicated unequivocally that they were requesting a Plea Bargain
and following the rejection had requested the AG for terms which the AG will consider acceptable.
h. The Supreme Court Judge therefore sought to enquire whether there was room for a Plea Bargain and the AG highlighted that he was not opposed provided it was made in proper form and assured
3rd accused that he had nothing personally against any of the accused persons. The AG further requested that since the charges principally focus on the public officials through whose actions the
loss was occasioned, Richard Jakpa should show fidelity to the transaction records which were already on record.
i. Finally, there is also a record that 1st Accused himself, Cassiel Ato
Forson, had in the company of a Senior Parliamentarian, visited the AG in his house to plead with him to end the prosecution. The NDC in their Press Conference today have conveniently failed,refused or neglected to respond to this fact which was also contained in the
response of Ministry of Justice following the proceedings of Thursday.
Ladies and gentlemen, if the Attorney General desired to cajole the 3rd
Accused as suggested, then the best avenue would have been following 3rd Accused request for the AG to propose terms acceptable to him and the several Whatsapp messages sent to the AG, pleading with him. Clearly, the 3rd accused is a hired mercenary, contracted to exploit his relationship with the Supreme Court Judge, knowing the AG’s inability to disrespect the said justice when invited after failing to secure a meeting with the AG. SUCCESS RECORD OF ATTORNEY GENERAL
Ladies and Gentlemen, let me again put on record, the in the 4th Republic, the current Attorney General, Hon. Godfred Yeboah, Dame, has been one of the most successful both in and out of Court.
As remarkably noted by the President at the last State of the nation’s Address, he had successfully saved the state over GHS 10 trillion and his verve in protecting public resources is shown by his commitment to the prosecution of public officials whose acts resulted in financial loss. This is beside the other several infrastructure and logistics improvement to the office of the Attorney General and Ministry of justice including the almost completed Law House.


Ladies and Gentlemen, if it is the firm belief of the NDC and Ato Forson that no loss had occasioned the state from his conduct, then they should remain faithful to our judicial system and cease these malicious orchestrations targeted at bastardising our judicial system prevent him from standing trial to conclusion.
We are clear in our minds that the calls for the resignation of the Attorney General is misplaced, unwarranted and this would not put any spokes in the prosecution of Cassiel Ato Forson and his associates. Also, coming from the NDC the call for the attorney General to resign is very very rich.
The AG would not resign and would continue to remain witty, resolute
and focused in the delivery of his work.
The wheels of justice they say grinds slowly but eventually, it grinds to a
halt. Thank you once again for coming on such short notice.

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