July 22, 2024

The third accused person in the ongoing ambulance trial, Richard Jakpa, informed the court on Thursday, July 20, 2024, during his cross-examination by the prosecution, that the former Ministers of Finance and Health in the erstwhile Mahama administration: Seth Terkper and the late Sherry Ayittey, deliberately sabotaged the ambulance project.

Richard Jakpa is standing trial alongside Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson, a former deputy finance minister and the current Minority Leader in Parliament, for willfully causing financial loss to the state in the botched ambulance transaction.

The prosecution had tendered documentary evidence in court to support its case and was able to establish a prima facie case against all the accused persons.

The prosecution presented evidence showing that the transaction had not received the necessary approvals as required by law.

The then Minister of Health, Sherry Ayittey, and the Minister of Finance, Seth Terkper, had objected to this transaction, citing irregularities, breaches of law, and value-for-money concerns.

Having established a solid case against all the accused persons, the court ordered them to open their defense. It was during this process that the third accused person, Jakpa, informed the court that the ambulance transaction was sabotaged by the two former ministers and claimed they were evil.

During the cross-examination, DPP Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa posed several questions, with Jakpa providing long answers, a report by asaaseradio.com said.

Question: “I am putting it to you that it is not true that the Attorney General, after he had filed a response to your ‘submission of no case’ and served it on you and stated that you had a case to answer, would then turn around and tell you that you will go free two weeks after he had filed this?”

Answer: “[The Attorney General indeed reneged on his promise], and it is so because he promised me on 27 July 2022. This ‘submission of no case,’ which was filed on 17 March, is not the date of the ruling but the date of the filing, and it was served on my lawyer. My dealings with the Attorney General were on the blind side of my lawyer, and this document that was served on my lawyer I was not aware of. I had to compartmentalize my dealings and engagement with the Attorney General because my engagement with the AG was strictly on a need-to-know and share basis.”

Question: “What actually happened was that the Attorney General told you, when you kept pressuring him to enter nolle prosequi in your favor, to enter a plea bargaining agreement if you so desired?”

Answer: “My Lord, the Attorney General never said such a thing to me. In fact, the real discussion that took place on that night was that the Attorney General, having educated me that Jakpa @ Business was a mere agent, I then asked why he charged me. I even went further and accused him… I had told the Attorney General that if he had listened to Joy FM in 2017 when the hullabaloo of this case started, I would have stated that Seth Terkper and Sherry Aryittey deliberately sabotaged the ambulance project. And I had a verbal confrontation with Ato Forson when he came on air to defend Seth Terkper. I told him he was not in the executive arm of government and that he was in Parliament, so he should stick to his parliamentary work. Seth Terkper started sabotaging this project right from the time he was deputy finance minister. So, for some years, Ato Forson and I never saw eye to eye. We were not friends. I told him on the radio to get his boss Seth Terkper to come and deny on radio. All this I told the Attorney General that night and I made him aware that I was a bitter man and I had lost so much—millions of dollars—so he should make me a prosecution witness instead of prosecuting me, a victim, because of the evil of Sherry Aryittey. He saw that I was angry, so he told me that I shouldn’t worry and that at the submission of no case stage, they would discharge me, and it would be left with A1 and A2. When the ruling came, I was not surprised because I knew the modus operandi of the current government when cutting deals with people they see as their political opponents. They never keep to the end of their bargain. So, I confronted Justice Kulendi. I sent him a message that I had been asked to open my defense as envisaged. Then Justice Kulendi responded on WhatsApp to me, ‘Don’t worry,’ and said, ‘Your friend said he would call you…. has he called you?’ Then I responded no. Then he sent another message [saying], ‘Come home.’ It was that day and that night that I declared war on the Attorney General. I told him that any man who deliberately decides to take the liberty of another man without any justifiable cause would never be my friend till eternity. And I told the two of them that the Attorney General is a lawyer, and he is using his law skills and knowledge to take my liberty away from me unjustly, and I am also going to use my underworld skills to pay him and deal with him. I said [he should] use what [he] knows best in [the] law, and I will also use what I know best on the street and will see who will survive.”

Meanwhile, Ato Forson, the first accused person, had earlier informed the court that his former boss, Seth Terpker, was the person who authorized the transaction.

The cross-examination of the third accused person by the prosecution continues on Thursday, June 27, 2024.

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