Ato Forson trial: Witness says Financing agreement with Stanbic Bank was cancelled

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Dr Cassel Ato Forson
Dr Cassel Ato Forson

Mr Emmanuel Evan Mensah, a witness in the trial involving Dr Ato Forson, a Former Deputy Minister of Finance and two others, says the financing agreement between Stanbic Bank and the Government of Ghana was cancelled.

“I am unable to say why the financing agreement between Stanbic Bank and Government was not signed,” he said.
Mr Mensah gave his evidence in chief after, which the defence cross examined him in Accra.

Dr Forson, a Former Deputy Minister of Finance, was granted a self-recognisance bail of GH¢3 million for allegedly willfully causing financial loss of 2,370,000 euros to the State.

He is also facing an additional charge of “Intentionally misapplying public property contrary to section 1 (2) of the Public Property Protection Act, 1977 (SMCD 140).”

Dr Sylvester Anemana, a Former Chief Director at the Ministry of Health in the case, was also granted a bail of GH¢1 million with three sureties one of whom shall be a public servant not below the rank of a director.

Mr Richard Dzakpa, a businessman, also in the trial, was granted a GH¢5 million bail with three sureties one of whom must be justified with documents of a landed property.

Asked that in his experience as a finance professional at the Ministry of Finance, could a Letter of Credit (LC) be lawfully established without approval from the Minister of Finance, he answered in the affirmative.

Dr Abdul Aziz Bamba, Counsel for Dr Forson asked the witness how the alleged authorisation was done by the then Former Deputy Minister of Finance and Mr Mensah said it was a written letter.

The witness confirmed the letter in open court and was given the opportunity to read in open court.
The Counsel said the letter indicated on the face value that it was written for the Minister of Finance, and the witness agreed.

Asked following the cancellation of the agreement, what other financing options were available to the government at that time, the witness said there were so many options.

The witness said one of the options was to look for replacement for the Stanbic agreement, while also consulting cabinet and approval from Parliament for other options.

Mr Mensah said another option was to postpone the whole agreement entirely, while looking at government coffers to finance the purchase of the ambulances.

The Counsel suggested to the witness that, the Minister of Finance could approve any other alternative financing options, but Mr Mensah disagreed.

He explained that because each option had processes and that the Minister could not solely approve them, and stressed he had to follow due processes, including going to Parliament for approval.

Mr Alex Owureidu Dankwa, lawyer for Dr Anemana, in a cross examination, suggested to the witness that the agreement was never signed, and the witness agreed.

The case was adjourned to Jan. 17, 2023, for continuation.

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