Ambulance case: Letters of Credit can’t be established for MDAs without approval of Finance Minister – Witness

A key prosecution witness in a case of willfully causing financial loss to the state brought against Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, Former Deputy Finance Minister, has admitted before an Economic and Financial Court in Accra, that Dr Forson could not have caused an Letters of Credit (LC) to be established by the Bank of Ghana (BoG) in favour Big Sea Trading LLC, without approval from the substantive Minister of Finance.

Testifying before the court presided over by Justice Afia Serwaa Asare Botchwey on Tuesday, the witness, Emmanuel Edumadze-Mensah, who is a Principal Budget Analyst at the Ministry of Finance in charge of exemptions, disclosed that per the workings of the Ministry of Finance, it was not possible for an LC to be established for any MDA without express approval from the Minister of Finance.

This disclosure appears to run contrary to charges levelled against Dr Forson by the prosecution that he authorized the setting up of an LC for Big Sea Trading for the supply of ambulances without authority.

The prosecution led by Attorney-General, Godfred Dame, had argued in their charge sheet that Dr Forson, on 7th August,2014, directed the Bank of Ghana to establish letters of credit in favour of the Dubai-based outfit at a time when he had not been authorized to do so.

Former Deputy Finance Minister, Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson and former Chief Director of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Sylvester Anemana as well as businessman, Richard Jakpa, have been charged with causing financial loss to the state over the importation of 30 ambulances that formed part of a consignment of 200 under a contract signed between the Ministry of Health and Dubai-based firm, Big Sea Limited in 2012.


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