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Bagbin fingers Sherry Ayittey in botched ambulance deal, says he’s clean

Speaker of Parliament Alban Sumana Bagbin has insisted that he has no hands in the purchasing of 30 substandard ambulances estimated at $2.4 million but rather his successor Minister.

A statement from Deputy Attorney General Diana Asonaba Dapaah on January 5, 2021, indicated that investigation into the matter started in 2017.

She indicated that all Health Ministers under the National Democratic Congress’ administration have been made to provide their statements.

“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 for 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,” part of the statement read.

But it could be remembered that the Speaker of Parliament Alban Sumana Bagbin has denied having a hand in the purchase of the ambulances.

Bagbin fingers Sherry Ayittey in botched ambulance deal, says he’s clean 1

He agreed that the process to purchase the ambulances was started during his tenure but he had left when the final agreement was reached.

“What most people don’t know about the ambulance saga so far as I am concerned is that even though there was the need to import those ambulances which were started during my tenure as health minister, I was not in the ministry as the health minister when the final agreement for the purchase of the ambulance was reached”, he revealed.

He has therefore challenged those who believe he was directly involved to adduce evidence to that fact or incur his wrath insisting that he had handed over to his successor, Madam Sherry Ayitey who took over from him as the substantive health minister.

The failure of the government’s technical team to inspect the production of 200 ambulances caused the country to incur a $2.4 million loss as it only discovered the vehicles were unfit for the purpose after it was received from the manufacturers.

According to the Executive Director of the National Ambulance Service, Prof. Ahmed Zakariah, there should have been inspections at various levels of the production to ensure that the manufacturer was producing exactly what was required by the country when it was being procured in 2015 under the John Mahama government.

Charges brought against Ato Forson and two others – Additional file from 3news.com

Cassiel Ato Forson, who is also the Ranking Member of the Finance Committee of Parliament together with two others, were dragged to the High Court on five counts of willfully causing financial loss to the state.

According to the facts of the case, Dr Ato Forson, when he was a Deputy Finance Minister under the Mahama administration, executed a contract by the government of Ghana to purchase some 200 ambulances for the National Ambulance Service.

Despite the granting of a medium-term loan facility of €15.8 million for the 200 ambulances, only 10 were shipped to Ghana in 2014.

“A post-delivery inspection of the first batch of 10 ambulances revealed that same were without any medical equipment in them.

“Other fundamental defects included defects on the body of the vehicles and the patient compartment of the ambulances,” the writ noted.

The two other accused are Sylvester Anemana, who was a Chief Director at the Ministry of Health, and Richard Jakpa, the Ghana representative of Dubai-based Big Sea General Trading Limited.

While Sylvester Anemana has been charged for abetment of crime namely wilfully causing financial loss to the state contrary to Sections 20(1) and 179A(3)(a) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 and breaching the Public Procurement Act, Richard Jakpa is on a charge of wilfully causing financial loss to the state “by intentionally causing vehicles purporting to be ambulances to be supplied to the Republic of Ghana by Big Sea General Trading Ltd of Dubai without due cause”.

Mr Ato Forson, who is the first accused, has additionally been charged for intentionally misapplying public property contrary to section 1(2) of the Public Property Protection Act, 1977.

He is said to have misapplied €2.37 million by causing irrevocable Letters of Credit to be established against the budget of the Ministry of Health in favour of the Dubai-based firm.

 

Source: MyNewsGh.com

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