€2.37m ambulance financial loss case: I am not privy to documents of authorization – Agyeman-Manu

The Minister of health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, has said that he was not privy to any document that indicated that former Deputy Minister of Finance, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson had authorised payments to be made under the Letters of Credit (LC) after the LC was established.

He made the admission yesterday as he ended his evidence in chief as a fourth witness for the state at the Accra High Court.

The court was hearing the case in which Dr Ato Forson, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Member of Parliament (MP) for Ajumako Enyan Esiam, and the ranking member on the Finance Committee of Parliament, has been charged together with Sylvester Anemana, a former Chief Director of the Ministry of Health and Richard Jakpa, a businessman.

They are in court for allegedly causing financial loss of €2.37 million to the state in a deal to purchase some 200 ambulances for the country between 2014 and 2016.

The three accused have pleaded not guilty to counts of wilfully causing financial loss to the state, abetment to wilfully cause financial loss to the state, contravention of the Public Procurement Act and intentionally misapplying public property.

Under cross examination by counsel for Dr Forson, Dr Abdul Basit Bamba, Mr Agyeman-Manu contended that the terms of the contract dictated that letters of credit would be established on the sight of goods upon the signing of the contract for every 50 ambulances which was flouted.

Mr Agyeman-Manu added that since the specifications of the guiding clause was not satisfied, the LC should not have been established in the first place.

Dr Bamba:“Will you agree with me that by the government of Ghana not complying with the clause 4.2.1 in terms of the time frame for setting up the LC, the government of Ghana breached the terms of the contract?”

Mr Agyemang- Manu: “I will like to agree with you”

Dr Bamba quizzed Mr Agyeman-Manu on whether he had knowledge of the pre-inspection of the 30 ambulances at the centre of the litigation before they were shipped to Ghana, to which Mr Agyemang responded “No”.

Dr Bamba put it to Mr Agyemang that he had not seen the full documentations on the ambulance transaction and also documents made available within the course of the trial by the Attorney General.

The witness replied that he hadn’t seen the bill of lading and conceded not to have seen the full documentations.

Dr Bamba submitted to Mr Agyeman-Manu that big sea shipped medical equipment to the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the containers with the medical equipment was still at the port and hasn’t been cleared by the government.

Mr Agyeman-Manu responded that government did not have the funds to clear the goods and he therefore urged the supplier to clear the goods.

But Dr Bamba insisted it was the obligation of the MoH to clear the goods per the terms of the agreement and not the supplier to which Mr Agyeman-Manu responded that “I do not see it so.”

The next hearing was set for January 10, 2023.

BY NANA BENTSI ODURO

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