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Crime & Punishment of Wednesday, 15 May 2024



Ambulance case: Government’s delay affected specifications - Businessman tells court

Richard Jakpa Richard Jakpa

In the ongoing trial of businessman Richard Jakpa and Minority Leader Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson for allegedly causing a €2.37 million financial loss to the state in an ambulance deal, Jakpa told the Accra High Court that delayed production affected the ambulance specifications.

Reading his witness statement, Jakpa explained that the delay also affected delivery time, attributing it to the Ministry of Health’s failure to carry out a pre-shipment inspection and the Ministry of Finance’s delay in raising the letter of credit.

The prosecution alleges that Jakpa, as the local representative of Big Sea, arranged to supply the ambulances despite knowing they had not shipped, and contracted Big Sea to charge a commission of 28.5% on the proceeds.

Jakpa defended himself, stating, “Government also refused to respond to at least 26 different correspondences which were sent to the MoH during the manufacturing process of the first 30 ambulances requesting for pre-delivery inspection by the technical team, but no responses came from Ghana's MOH.”

Responding to claims of supplying “unfit” ambulances, Jakpa stated he represented Big Sea as an agent and that the government waived its right to pre-shipment inspection.

He referred to the former Chief Director of the MoH’s letter, stating that a post-delivery inspection revealed the ambulances were delivered without equipment. Jakpa claimed that Big Sea committed to rectifying the issues observed.

Jakpa further stated that even after the government pointed out defects, it still committed to the contract for purchasing the ambulances. He highlighted that Big Sea shipped all medical equipment to the MoH after admitting to defects, and the government wanted JBL (Jakpa’s company) to pay and clear them from the port due to budget constraints.

Regarding the charges, Jakpa maintained that JBL committed no offense for insisting on its commission.

He emphasized that no evidence was presented to show JBL caused the shipment of the ambulances, as Big Sea was already bound by contract to deliver them.

Jakpa and Dr. Ato Forson have pleaded not guilty to charges including wilfully causing financial loss to the state and intentionally misapplying public property.

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