No MP Is Immune From Prosecution – AG Tells Cassiel Ato Forson

No MP Is Immune From Prosecution – AG Tells Cassiel Ato Forson

www.athleticshour.com | Member of Parliament Cassiel Ato Forson

The Attorney General (AG) has refuted assertions made by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam Constituency that the charges against him stem from his disagreement to portions of the government’s 2022 budget declaration. No MP is immune from prosecution – AG tells Cassiel Ato Forson

All people in Ghana are equal before the law, according to a statement signed by the Deputy Attorney-General, Diana Asonaba Dapaah, on Wednesday.

The Attorney General stated that being a Member of Parliament is not a bar to prosecution for a crime committed.

According to the AG, investigations into financial irregularities involving the procurement of ambulances during the Mahama administration began in 2017.

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“Same (investigations) had been ongoing since 2017 with a number of statements taken from various persons at different points in time, including the Rt. Hon. Alban Bagbin, former Minister for Health (now Speaker of the Parliament of Ghana), Mr. Kwaku Agyeman-Mensah, Madam Sherry Ayittey and Dr. Alex Segbefia, all former Ministers for Health as well as the first accused,” part of the statement read.

“Investigations into the ambulance purchase contract are being finalised by the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service for the commencement of criminal proceedings against persons deemed fit for prosecution.

“Further statements were taken from various persons. At that stage, no issue relating to the 2022 Budget and Economic Policy of the Government had come up,” the statement added.

“All persons in Ghana are equal before the law. The status of a Member of Parliament is no bar to prosecution for a crime committed,” according to the statement.

Reacting the charges against him at a press conference in Accra on Friday December 24, he said “The investigation into the purchase of the ambulances, which is the basis for these frivolous charges, started in somewhere 2017.

“In November 2017, a request was made to the then Speaker of Parliament, the Rt. Hon. Aaron Mike Ocquaye, for me to assist
the Economic and Organized Crimes Office (EOCO) with their investigation into this matter.

“I provided a statement to the EOCO detailing my honest recollection of the transaction. Interestingly, nothing was heard of the investigation until November 2021, a period of four years, when I started raising concerns about the 2022 Budget and Economic Policy of the Government. During this period, the Secretariat of the Rt. Honourable Speaker informed me that the EOCO had requested that I be released to assist with further investigation into the purchase of the ambulances. I was further informed that the Office of the Attorney General had requested that a charge statement be taken from me in preparation for formal charges to be filed against me.

“The coincidence speaks volumes about the motivation for these frivolous and baseless charges.

“A cursory reading of the frivolous and politically motivated charges shows that my only role in the entire transaction was to
have signed a letter on behalf of the Minister of Finance, in my capacity as Deputy Finance Minister, for the establishment of
letters of credit by the Bank of Ghana and for payment by the Controller Accountant General of the charges for the letters of
credit. If I may ask, ladies and gentlemen of the press, since when did ministerial instruction for the establishment of letters of credit become a crime in this dear country of ours?

“It is important to note that, whilst I am being prosecuted for my role in instructing that letters of credit be established for the
purchase of ambulances for use in our health delivery system, the Attorney General does not see it fit to prosecute those who left
the ambulances purchased with taxpayer money to rot while pregnant women are being carried on bicycles, aboboyaa, push
trucks and okada bikes to hospitals all over the country to deliver the next generation of Ghanaians.

“Between the person who requested that letters of credit be established for the purchase of ambulances and the person who took the decision to leave the purchased ambulances to deteriorate, who has caused financial loss to the state? Which of these two has misapplied state property?”

Ato_Press_Release_Ambulances..Download

The Ranking Member of Parliament’s Finance Committee, along with two others, has been charged with five counts of deliberately inflicting financial loss to the state in the High Court.

According to the facts of the case, while serving as Deputy Finance Minister under the Mahama administration, Dr. Ato Forson signed a deal with the Ghanaian government to buy 200 ambulances for the National Ambulance Service.

Despite receiving a €15.8 million medium-term loan for the 200 ambulances, just 10 were delivered to Ghana in 2014. No MP Is Immune From Prosecution – AG Tells Cassiel Ato Forson.

“A post-delivery inspection of the first batch of 10 ambulances revealed that same were without any medical equipment in them.

“Other fundamental defects included defects on the body of the vehicles and the patient compartment of the ambulances,” the writ noted

The two other accused are Sylvester Anemana, who was a Chief Director at the Ministry of Health, and Richard Jakpa, the Ghana representative of Dubai-based Big Sea General Trading Limited.

While Sylvester Anemana has been charged for abetment of crime namely wilfully causing financial loss to the state contrary to Sections 20(1) and 179A(3)(a) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 and breaching the Public Procurement Act, Richard Jakpa is on a charge of wilfully causing financial loss to the state “by intentionally causing vehicles purporting to be ambulances to be supplied tot he Republic of Ghana by Big Sea General Trading Ltd of Dubai without due cause”.

Mr Ato Forson, who is the first accused, has additionally been charged for intentionally misapplying public property contrary to section 1(2) of the Public Property Protection Act, 1977.

He is said to have misapplied €2.37 million by causing irrevocable Letters of Credit to be established against the budget of the Ministry of Health in favour of the Dubai-based firm.

The state brought the charges against the three.

Source: 3news.com

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  1. Ibrahim, I’m proud of you. I pray you reach where ever you want to 🙏🏽🤲🏽📿 I hope to see you…

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