Ambulances supplied to govt were fit for purpose – Jakpa

 The third accused in the ongoing ambulance procurement trial, Mr Richard Jakpa, on Tuesday told the High Court in Accra that the ambulances supplied to the Government of Ghana were fit for purpose.

Mr Jakpa is standing trial together with the Minority Leader, Dr Cassiel Ato, for causing €2.37 million financial loss to the state in the purchase of ambulances.

The third accused said during cross-ex­amination that Big Sea, the Dubai Company that supplied the ambulances, carefully designed the medical buses to meet the gov­ernment specification.

Mr Jakpa, businessman and representative of the company, told the court, presided over by Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe, that government was to blame for not clear­ing the ambulances, which were delivered.

He said the allegation that he received about 50 per cent of payment for the ambu­lances, was unfounded, and that Big Sea was burdened by delays from the government, al­though the company fulfilled its side of the bargain to supply the ambulances.

In a related development, the Chief Jus­tice, Justice Gertrude Araba Esaaba Sackey Torkornoo has ordered that proceedings be conducted virtually.

Meanwhile, the prosecution, led by the Attorney-General (A-G) and Minister of Justice, Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, ended cross-examination of the accused.

Dr Forson and Mr Jakpa have been accused of causing financial loss of €2.37 million to the state in a deal to purchase 200 ambulances for the country between 2014 and 2016.

They pleaded not guilty to counts of willfully causing financial loss to the state, abetment to wilfully causing financial loss to the state, contravention of the Public Procurement Act and intentionally misap­plying public property.

According to the A-G, in 2009, while delivering the State of the Nation Address, the then President, Prof. John Evans Atta Mills, indicated that new ambulances would be purchased to expand the operations of the National Ambulance Service.

Jakpa, who is a local representative of Big Sea General Trading Limited, a company based in Dubai, approached the Ministry of Health with a proposal that he had arranged for finance from Stanbic Bank for the supply of 200 ambulances to the government.

Parliament approved the financing agree­ment between the government and Stanbic Bank.

According to the facts, on November 19, 2012, Dr Anemana wrote to the Public Pro­curement Authority (PPA) seeking approval to engage Big Sea through single sourcing for the supply of the 200 ambulances.

They added that on August 7, 2014, Dr Forson wrote to the Bank of Ghana for letters of credit covering €3.95 million for the supply of 50 ambulances in favour of Big Sea.

The letters of credit were accordingly released to Big Sea.

The facts said 30 ambulances were purchased at a sum of €2.37 million but all were found not to have met ambulance specifications and therefore “not fit for purpose.”


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