March 30, 2023
31228575.295 1

The Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman Manu, has provided evidence to an Accra High Court to the effect that it was the Health Ministry that authorized the sole-sourcing procurement of ambulances in favour of Big Sea General Trading Limited.

The minister, during a cross-examination in the case in which a former Deputy Minister of Finance, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, and two others are standing trial over an ambulance deal, read a letter from the Bank of Ghana which shows that it was the Health Ministry that authorized payment to Big Sea Ltd of Dubai. This narration however runs contrary to his earlier testimony before a Financial and Economic Court in Accra presided over by Justice Afia Serwaa Asare Botchwey.

Kwaku Agyeman Manu had, at a previous sitting of the Court, stated in his evidence in chief and during cross-examination, that it was Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, the first accused, who authorized payment by virtue of a 7th August , 2014 letter requesting for the establishment of letters of credit in favour of Big Sea.

Answering further questions under cross examination in a recent hearing on Tuesday, August 29, 2022, Mr. Agyeman Manu was compelled to read a letter dated 20th, March 2015 and written by an official of the Bank of Ghana addressed to the then Minister of Health asking the Ministry to first, approve shipping documents presented by Big Sea and give authorization for payment under the LC.

Mr. Agyeman Manu who is the third prosecution witness, had initially denied knowledge of the existence of the said letter.

Reading the letter signed by an Assistant Director of the of the Banking Department of the Bank of Ghana, Leslie Akrong, on behalf of the head of the Banking Department verbatim, Mr. Agyeman Manu disclosed that the Bank of Ghana informed the Ministry of Health that it had “received shipping documents from the Ghana International Bank, London, relating to a presentation value of EUR790,000 ON APPROVAL BASIS”.

This, the Bank of Ghana stated in the letter, requires that the (Ministry of Health) indicates acceptance of the presentation and authorize payment before the documents are released.

The letter further requested the Ministry of Health to arrange “urgently” to have the shipping documents “examined” at the Bank of Ghana’s counters.

The content of the letter is diametrically opposite to Mr. Agyeman Manu’s earlier testimony that Dr Forson gave authorization for payment.

Second prosecution witness, Edward Markwei, who is the Head of the Trade Finance Department at the Bank of Ghana, had earlier testified that the LC in favour of Big Sea had been done on approval basis and without the express authorization and approval by the Health Ministry who were the applicants under the LC, there was no way payment would have been made to Big Sea.

The Health Minister had also earlier admitted under cross-examination by Dr Bamba that an LC in itself didn’t constitute payment but was only a guarantee for payment pending the fulfilment of certain conditions.

Former Deputy Finance Minister, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson and former Chief Director of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Sylvester Anemana and businessman, Richard Jakpa, have been charged with causing financial loss to the state over the importation of 30 ambulances that formed part of a consignment of 200 under a contract signed between the Ministry of Health and Dubai-based firm, Big Sea Limited in 2012.

Below is the letter



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *