A former aide to Ghana’s former President John Mahama, Mr Felix Kwakye Ofosu has mounted up a fierce defence for the former Deputy Finance Minister Dr Cassiel Ato Forson as he is standing trial for allegedly causing financial loss to the state over his role in the procurement of some ambulance during his tenure as Deputy Finance Minister.
The former Deputy Communications Minister called out the Akufo-Addo administration and accused them of sidestepping an opportunity to resolve the issues with regards to procurement with the Big Sea General Trading Limited, which supplied the ambulances.
“Have they asserted our rights under this dispute resolution clause? Have they requested a meeting with Big Sea? And if that meeting failed, have they followed up to go for arbitration,” he questioned.
It is estimated that the country is said to have lost $2.4 million after 30 ambulances that were procured in 2014 by the Ministry of Health were deemed to be faulty or not fit for purpose.
Mr. Ofosu, also indicated that problems over defects with the ambulances had been addressed.
“There was no quarrel between us and Big Sea because the matters that had been raised with respect to some defects with the vehicles that had been brought in had been resolved to the extent that firm commitment had been extracted from Big Sea to correct it.”
Mr. Ofosu then went ahead to dare the government to allow access to the 30 ambulances, which he said were parked and rotting away at the Air Force base in Accra.
“If this government knows that it is not peddling falsehood, it should grant you access to the air force base to film those ambulances.”
He added that Big Sea “brought vehicles of a higher spec than we actually requested for at no extra cost to us. They shipped a container load of assemblies which has been here for five years and has not been cleared by this government.”
He reiterated his defence stating that Mr. Forson did not overstep his mandate with respect to the deal.
“Any payment that was made on the advice of the Attorney General is binding. The Attorney General’s opinion is binding on all government officials.”
The government originally wanted to purchase two hundred ambulances.
The deal was, however, cut short after the 30 which had been delivered supposedly did not meet the required specifications.
Currently, Mr. Forson is standing trial with a former Chief Director of the Ministry of Health; Sylvester Anemana, and a businessman; Richard Jakpa.
The three are now facing five counts of willfully causing financial loss to the state, abetment to willfully cause financial loss to the state, contravention of the Public Procurement Act, and intentionally misapplying public property.
Mr. Richard Jakpa is the businessman who is said to have used his company, Jakpa at Business, to present the proposal and term loan to the Ministry of Health to finance the supply of the ambulances.