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Financial loss charge against me frivolous, politically motivated – Ato Forson speaks

A former Deputy Minister of Finance, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson says the charge of allegedly causing financial loss of €2.37 million to the state brought against himself and two others yesterday is a “frivolous and politically motivated attempt” by the government to silence him from performing his duties as the Ranking Member on the Finance Committee of the Parliament of Ghana.

Dr Forson made this known today at a press briefing in Accra.

According to Dr Forson who has been charged with two others for allegedly causing financial loss to the state in a deal to purchase 200 ambulances for the country between 2014 and 2016, his only role in the entire transaction was when he signed “a letter on behalf of the Minister of Finance as Deputy Finance Minister, for the establishment of letters of credit by the Bank of Ghana and for payment by the Controller Accountant General of the charges for the letters of credit”.

“If I may ask, ladies and gentlemen of the press, since when did ministerial instruction for the establishment of letters of credit become a crime in this dear country of ours?,” Dr Forson quizzed.

He also stated that the establishment of the said letters of credit was preceded by an opinion letter by the Attorney General dated May 9, 2014, advising the Ministry of Health on this transaction.

“It was based upon the advice of the Attorney General that the Legal Division of the Ministry of Finance advised the Minister of Finance, not the Deputy Minister, to take steps to establish the letters of credit,” he said.

“At the appropriate time, and in the course of the trial, we will make available the full complement of documentation through the process of discovery.

“In the meantime, the question you should be asking the Attorney General and his Director of Public Prosecutions is why they are running away from their own legal opinion? Don’t they know that it is highly unethical and unprofessional for a lawyer to issue an opinion on the position of the law on a matter and then turn around to act against her own advice? I dare say that that is professional misconduct”.

Political motivation

Dr Forson stated that although the investigation into the purchase of the ambulances started in 2017, “nothing was heard of the investigation until November 2021, a period of four years, when I started raising concerns about the 2022 Budget and Economic Policy of the Government”.

He said: “During this period, the Secretariat of the Rt. Honourable Speaker informed me that the EOCO had requested that I be released to assist with further investigation into the purchase of the ambulances.

“I was further informed that the Office of the Attorney General had requested that a charge statement be taken from me in preparation for formal charges to be filed against me. The coincidence speaks volumes about the motivation for these frivolous and baseless charges”.

 

Source: Graphic.com.gh|Ghana

 

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