Causing financial loss to the state: Ato Forson’s letters lacked authorization for letters of credit – Witness

The second prosecution witness in the case against Dr. Ato Forson has said the letters from the Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam MP, requesting the Bank of Ghana to establish letters of credit in favour of Big Sea General Trading Limited, lacked authorization to compel the Bank of Ghana to do so.

Former Deputy Finance Minister, Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson and former Chief Director of the Ministry of Health (MOH), Dr. Sylvester Anemana as well as businessman, Richard Jakpa, have been charged with causing financial loss to the state over the importation of 30 ambulances that formed part of a consignment of 200 under a contract signed between the MOH and Dubai-based firm, Big Sea Limited in 2012.

The witness, Edward Markwei Jr, while being cross-examined by Counsel for Dr. Forson, Dr Abdul Aziz Basit Bamba, said the letter from the Finance Ministry requesting the Bank of Ghana to establish the letters of credit needed additional evidence such as; certification from the Ministry of Health and documents from the supplier, Big Sea before the letters of credit could be established and any payment made.

He told the court presided over by Justice Afia Serwaa Asare Botchwey, that the most important document required before the Letters of credit could be established was the proforma invoice, whose content he said was partly extracted from the contract between the Ministry of Health and Big Sea.

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The head of the Trade Finance Unit of the Bank of Ghana emphasised that the letters of credit cannot be established when there is no proforma invoice.

Mr. Markwei Jr had told the court at its previous sitting that for any payment to be made, the proforma invoice and other necessary documentations presented by Big Sea must be approved and authorised by the Ministry of Health first.Mr. Markwei also disclosed that he never contacted or interacted with Dr. Ato Forson despite his superiors’ order and instructions for the letters of credit to be worked following a request by the Ministry of Finance. Mr. Markwei said he did not have any proof that there was any contact between the second accused, Dr. Sylvester Anemana and Dr Forson while he was cross-examined by the Counsel for Dr. Anemana.

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