The charges against me are inappropriate, the government has not suffered any financial loss – Richard Jakpa to court

Businessman Richard Jakpa, one of two people still on trial for allegedly causing financial losses to the State in the purchase of some ambulances, has denied such claims.

He described the prosecution’s claims as “incorrect” and added that his prosecution was in “bad faith”.

Mr Jakpa, together with Dr Ato Forson, former Deputy Minister of Finance and now minority leader in Parliament, are on trial for intentionally causing a financial loss of €2.37 million to the State through a contract for the purchase of 200 ambulances for the Ministry of Health.

They have pleaded not guilty to five charges of intentionally causing financial loss to the state, complicity in a crime, contravention of the Public Procurement Law and intentional misuse of public property.

Dr Forson was granted bail of GH3 million, while businessman Richard Jakpa was granted bail of GH5 million with three sureties, one of which must be substantiated by land ownership documents.

Dr Sylvester Anemana, former Chief Director of the Ministry of Health, who was the second accused, had health problems and has since been discharged following the Attorney General’s Nolle Prosequi.

In court on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, concluding the reading of his 134-paragraph Witness Statement (main evidence), Mr. Jakpa said: “It is clearly not appropriate to argue that the government has suffered financial losses when the government is still “It has the benefit of ambulances that are in the possession of the government.”

Jakpa, who is on trial alongside former Deputy Finance Minister Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, said he had “no business transaction with the State or even Big Sea”.

Outlining the reasons for his position that the charges against him were inappropriate, he said: “Neither the government nor Big Sea engaged me to play any role in the transaction from which the present proceeding results.”

It was also the case for Mr. Jakpa, the third defendant, who “is not a Big Sea or government official.”

The third defendant also told the court that “it is JBL who has relations with Big Sea and not the government.”

“I am only a director and shareholder of JBL, unless there is a special reason for me to personally become a defendant in this case and the prosecution has not established any; my prosecution is not carried out in good faith,” he stated.

Mr. Jakpa also told the Court in the concluding part of his Evidence in Chief through his Witness Statement that, “even with JBL, (JBL) is merely a commissioned agent of the said Big Sea company who acted as an agent for Big Sea for a fee.”

The third defendant also stated that “neither I nor JBL had any responsibility/obligation under the contract between the Government of Ghana (GoG) and Big Sea in the delivery of the ambulances.”

“All payments made were made directly to Big Sea through an Irrevocable Transferable Letter of Credit (LC).

“The payments made to JBL were made pursuant to court orders which are still valid and have not been set aside,” the defendant told the Court.

He added that the ambulances have been properly supplied and “an agreement has been reached to remedy all defects, if any.”

“The accessories to rectify all the defects, since 2016, have been sent to the government,” he told the Court.

He also said: “The government accepted the ambulances because it did not reject them.”

EIB Network legal affairs correspondent Murtala Inusah reports that Mr Jakpa is facing cross-examination by Dr Ato Forson’s lawyers before the High Court presided over by Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe, judge of the Court of Appeal.

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