The Attorney General has said the charges against the former deputy finance minister, Cassiel Ato Forson, are not politically motivated and also have nothing to do with his stance on the controversial E-Levy in the 2022 Budget Statement.
The state has charged Ato Forson and two others with willfully causing financial loss to the Republic of Ghana and intentionally misapplying public property.
The charges are:
- willfully causing financial loss to the Republic of Ghana, contrary to Section 179A (3) (a) of the Criminal Offences Act 1960 (Act 29),
- abetment of crime, namely willfully causing financial loss to the state, contrary to Sections 20 )1) and 179 A (3) (a) of the same Criminal Offences Act 1960,
- contravention of the Public Procumbent Act 2003 (Act 663), contrary to Section 92 (2)(b) of the said act, and
- intentionally misapplying public property, contrary to Section 1 (2) of the Public Property Protection Act 1977 (SMCD 140).
Reacting to the charges on 24 December 2021, Ato Forson said that his prosecution for willfully causing financial loss to the state was initiated because he started raising concerns about the government’s 2022 Budget and Economic Policy.
However, in a four-page rebuttal, the Office of the Attorney General said that is not the case because investigations into the issue started back in 2017.
The Deputy Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Diana Asonaba Dapaah, said the press conference by Ato Forson was “laden with factual misrepresentations and calculated at scandalizing the criminal proceedings pending in the High Court against the Member of Parliament and exposing the Attorney-General to prejudice and hatred.”
“The investigations into the financial crimes perpetrated against the Republic of Ghana in the matter of the failed purchase of ambulances for the State began in 2017.
“Same had been ongoing since 2017 with a number of statements taken from various persons at different times” including Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, Kwaku Agyeman-Mensah, Madam Sherry Ayittey and Dr Alex Segbefia, all former Health Ministers,” the statement said.