Concerns have been expressed by Speaker of the House Alban Bagbin on what he refers to as the “persecution” of Minority Leader Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson.
Dr. Forson and two other defendants are on trial for allegedly defrauding the state of money by buying fifty ambulances that were defective.
The Minority Leader is accused of requesting the credit letters that served as the foundation for the ambulance payments totaling €2.3 million without permission; he has refuted this allegation.
Speaker Bagbin declared that the prosecution of the Minority Leader is an act of political persecution while paying a visit to the late Felix Owusu-Adjapong, the husband and family of the previous Majority Leader in Parliament.
“The Minority Leader is being persecuted. On a number of occasions, he has been unable to join us in Parliament because he is appearing in court. As I speak to you, he is being tried. It is not that we don’t want the rule of law to apply, we all want it to apply. But where prosecution is just a gamble, I may win or I may not win but let me do it, I will not prescribe that for any politician. As a leader you always have to take the risk; You could get it right, you could get it catastrophically wrong” Mr. Bagbin bemoaned.
Seth Terkper testified in favor of Dr. Ato Forson on Thursday, stating that, in contrast to what the state has claimed, Dr. Forson took action with his full consent.
In his witness statement, Seth Terkper noted, “For the avoidance of doubt, I state again that, I as the then Minister of Finance, authorized A1 (Dr. Ato Forson) to request the Bank of Ghana to set up the LC (Letters of Credit) with the sole objective e of avoiding potential financial liability for the Government”.
However, during cross-examination, Attorney General Godfred Yeboah Dame asked the witness to provide any shown papers as evidence that he had in fact granted Dr. Ato Forson authority.
However, Mr. Seth Terkper clarified that the authorization was in accordance with the Attorney General’s department’s recommendations. He said that his organization had received a letter from the Attorney General requesting that the Ministry of Health take action to uphold the terms of the contract.
He went on to say that the Ministry of Finance’s legal department received the letters from the Attorney General after they were sent there.