The Office of the Attorney General has said former Deputy Finance Minister Cassiel Ato Forson is seeking to expose Attorney General Godfred Dame to “hatred” and “prejudice” with the opposition lawmaker’s claim that a recent charge of causing financial loss to the state levelled against him was part of a grand scheme by officialdom to silence him as far as his opposition to the controversial e-levy is concerned.
The Ajumako Enyan Esiam MP, who is also the Ranking Member on the Finance Committee of Parliament together with two others; Sylvester Anemana, a former Chief Director of the Ministry of Health; and Richard Jakpa, a businessman, is facing criminal charges for causing the state to lose €2.37 million in a deal to purchase some 200 ambulances for the country between 2014 and 2016.
The trio was dragged to the Accra High Court Thursday, 23 December 2021 by the Attorney General, on five counts of wilfully causing financial loss to the state, abetment to wilfully cause financial loss to the state, contravention of the public procurement act and intentionally misapplying public property.
A day after the charges were levelled against him, Dr Forson told the media at a press conference that: “I have had to call you this morning for the singular purpose of responding to the news doing the rounds on social and mainstream media that certain charges have been preferred against me by the Attorney General of the Republic, the Honourable Godfred Yeboah Dame”.
“Though I am yet to be formally charged in court, I have seen copies of the charge sheet in the media and wish to say without any fear of the contradiction that these charges are nothing but a frivolous and politically motivated attempt by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his hatchet man, the Attorney General, to silence me for performing my duties as the Ranking Member on the Finance Committee of the Parliament of Ghana”.
“But I want to assure the good people of this country, especially my constituents, who elected me to represent them in parliament that I will not and cannot be silenced by the blatant abuse of prosecutorial powers by the Attorney General”, he said.
Responding to Dr Forson, the office of the Attorney General, in a statement signed by Deputy Attorney General Diana Asonaba Dapaah, said Dr Ato Forson’s claims were “laden with factual misrepresentations and calculated at scandalising the criminal proceedings pending in the High Court against the Member of Parliament and exposing the Attorney General to prejudice and hatred”.
The statement clarified that “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 [investigations] had been ongoing since 2017, with a number of statements taken from various persons at different points in time, including the Rt. Hon. Alban Bagbin, former Minister of Health (now Speaker of the Parliament of Ghana); Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Mensah, Madam Sherry Ayittey and Dr Alex Segbefia, all former Ministers for Health as well as the first accused”.