Ato Forson didn’t err in ambulance deal – Kwakye Ofosu

Felix Kwakye Ofosu, an aide to former President John Mahama, has defended a former Deputy Finance Minister, Cassiel Ato Forson, in the case brought against him by the state over his role in the procurement of some ambulances.

Speaking on Eyewitness News, the former Deputy Communications Minister, rather accused the Akufo-Addo administration of sidestepping an opportunity to address concerns with the 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.

The country is said to have lost $2.4 million after 30 ambulances were procured in 2014 by the Ministry of Health were deemed to be faulty or not fit for purpose.

According to Mr. Ofosu, the issues 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 also dared 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 also said 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 further held 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.”

Two hundred ambulances were originally meant to be purchased by the government.

The deal was, however, suspended after the 30 which had been delivered supposedly did not meet the required specifications.

Mr. Forson is facing trial alongside a former Chief Director of the Ministry of Health; Sylvester Anemana, and a businessman; Richard Jakpa.

The three are 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.

Richard Jakpa is said to have used his company, Jakpa at Business, to present a proposal and term loan to the Ministry of Health to finance the supply of the ambulances.

Cabinet subsequently endorsed Executive approval for the project, according to the Attorney General.


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