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€2.37m Ambulance Case: Appeals Court Throws Out Ato Forson



The Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal by Minority Leader, Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson, to have the charges against him dropped in the ongoing €2.37 million ‘defective’ ambulance case. This decision marks another setback for Dr. Forson, who sought to terminate his trial by arguing the charges were defective.

A three-member panel, comprising Justices Bright Mensah (Presiding), Bartels-Kodwo, and Nasifasata Amaleboba, ruled unanimously against Dr. Forson’s appeal, stating that it was without merit.

Dr. Forson had previously filed applications with the High Court in Accra seeking an injunction to prevent Attorney General Godfred Yeboah Dame from prosecuting him further. He also sought a mistrial to terminate the case and requested a stay of proceedings until his application was determined. However, both applications were dismissed by Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe, who found that the charges were clear and adequately detailed.

Dr. Forson and Richard Jakpa are accused of willfully causing financial loss of €2.37 million to the state through a contract to purchase 200 ambulances for the Ministry of Health. Dr. Forson faces charges of willfully causing financial loss to the Republic and intentionally misapplying public property.

Unconvinced by the High Court’s decision, Dr. Forson appealed to the Court of Appeal. His lawyer, Dr. Abdul Bassit Aziz Bamba, argued that the trial judge had wrongly focused on the plain meaning of the phrases “without due cause and authorization” instead of addressing whether the charges contained specific details of the alleged acts.

The Attorney General’s office, represented by Principal State Attorney Richard Gyambiby, opposed the appeal, arguing that the charge sheet met legal requirements and contained all necessary elements of the offences charged.

In its decision, the Court of Appeal emphasized that legal documents should be interpreted as a whole and dismissed the notion that specific phrases could be considered in isolation. The court found that the charges against Dr. Forson were sufficiently detailed and met constitutional and legal standards.

The charges specify that Dr. Forson allegedly caused financial loss by authorizing irrevocable letters of credit valued at €3,950,000, resulting in payments of €2,370,000 to Big Sea General Trading Ltd. of Dubai for ambulances without proper authorization. Additionally, he is accused of intentionally misapplying public funds by causing these letters of credit to be established against the Ministry of Health’s budget.

The Court of Appeal concluded that the charges contained enough particulars as required under Article 19 (2) (d) of the 1992 Constitution and Section 112 (4) of Act 30. As a result, the appeal was dismissed for lacking merit.

The trial will continue as scheduled, with Dr. Forson and his co-accused, Richard Jakpa, facing serious allegations of financial misconduct.

Source: GhanaFeed.Com

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