Ambulance case: Richard Jakpa to be grilled by Attorney General today

Businessman Richard Jakpa is expected to face cross examination from the Attorney General (AG) today Tuesday, June 18 on what promises to be an interesting showdown following allegations against Godfred Yeboah Dame in the ongoing ambulance trial.

This was after lawyers of Dr Ato Forson, 1st Accused, concluded their cross-examination of Mr Jakpa last Thursday, June 13.

Even though it is not clear if Godfred Dame, the AG will be in Court personally to conduct the cross examination of the Prosecution, what is clear is that, Prosecution will continue to scrutinize Mr Jakpa.

Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe, a Justice of the Court of Appeal who is presiding over the case as an additional High Court judge, called upon the Prosecution after lawyers of Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, led by Dr Abdul Basit Aziz Bamba ended their cross examination on Thursday June 13.

Before then, the Court had admitted into evidence an audio recording conversation between, Godfred Dame and Richard Jakpa, the third accused.

Dr Ato Forson, the current minority leader in parliament, and businessman Richard Jakpa have been accused of willfully causing financial loss to the republic to the tune of 2.37 million euros through the purchase of ambulances.

They have pleaded not guilty and are standing trial.

According to EIB Network’s Legal Affairs Correspondent, Murtala Inusah, Mr Jakpa will face at least 5 hours of scrutiny from the Prosecution as per the Case Management Completion plan.

*Security Seal*

Responding to questions from Dr Aziz Bamba, Counsel for Dr Ato Forson at the last Court sitting, Mr Jakpa said Seth Terkper authorised Ato Forson to establish the Letters of Credits as per Seth Terkper’s security seal made further startling allegations.

“I am suggesting it to you that the security seal together with the writings at the sides of the security seals clearly indicate that the Hon. Minister of Finance then, Hon. Seth Terkper expressly approved Exhibit A,” Dr Aziz Bamba put to Jakpa under cross-examination.

Mr Jakpa in his response, answered in the affirmative.

“Yes and no doubt because in my dealing with MOF (Ministry of Finance) over the years, each time any of my companies raise a certificate of payment for work done or services rendered, most often the substantive Minister of Finance is not around,” Mr Jakpa explained.

“He is either at cabinet meetings, gone out of the country for international financial engagements on behalf of the country so the Chief Director or any of the two deputies write the letters for payments but those letters in themselves cannot authorize Controller or Bank of Ghana to debit government accounts.

“The secretaries for the Chief Director or either of the two deputy ministers will send the signed letters of their respective bosses to the office of the substantive Minister of Finance’s secretary.

“The substantive Minister of Finance’s secretary will then confirm from the Minister of Finance himself,” the third accused told the Court.

He said, “Upon the approval and authorization of the Minister of Finance himself, the confidential secretary of the Finance Minister will bring a machine that contains the authorization security seal of the Minister of Finance affixed on the letter before Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CA&GD) or Bank of Ghana (BOG), either of them can proceed to implement the said letter.”

According to Mr Jakpa, “without the authorization security seal of the substantive Minister of Finance, CA&GD or BOG will not act on any letter instructing them to debit any account of Ghana both local and international.”

“This is a security measure put in place to ensure that it is only by the Finance Minister of Ghana’s explicit authorization, approval and knowledge can Ghana’s consolidated account be debited for payment for any work done or services rendered to any MMDA.

“I have always followed up on payments for my other companies that rendered services to government and this has been the procedure,” the businessman told the Court.

He added that, “Whether the Minister of Finance is in Ghana or he is out of the country, he is indisposed, government works go on because of the security seal that must be affixed on any letter that is going to debit government of Ghana account.”

*MMSAs, AG appreciation of Seal*

When Counsel asked Mr Jakpa if he will agree with him that the key officers in MMDAs appreciate the significance of the authorization seal of the MOF including the office of the Attorney General, he answered in the affirmative.

“Yes including the office of the Attorney General because there is no Ministry even including the office of the President,” he explained.

Mr Japka added that, “Letters signed by the President or National Security Minister that contains an authorization security seal affixed on their letter.

“It is only the Minister of Finance whose letters for establishment of LC (Letter of Credit) or payments of any kind comes with authorization security seal affixed on it.

“This security seal issue came up on the 25th of March, 2024 which was on a Monday,” the third accused said.

*Read below excerpts of Richard Jakpa’s narration to the Court*

*Bench warrant*

He said “My lady issued a Bench Warrant for my arrest on a Thursday which was 21st or 22nd,” and “On Tuesday, I had come to court and dismissed my lawyer.”

“I want to say that I disposed of the
services of my lawyer and that was on a Tuesday.

“Then on Wednesday, my lady said I should come back for the proceedings so that on Thursday, I can continue with my evidence,” he recounted.

“I came on Wednesday for the proceedings and my lady saw me in the afternoon and was chastising them for keeping me waiting.

“I got home and in the night, I had stomach and chest pains so I was rushed to the hospital and was admitted.

“The following day which was Thursday and I was supposed to come to court, I could not come to court and other things happened and a Bench Warrant was issued for me,” he narrated.

*EOCO confirmation*

He added that, “EOCO (Officials) came to hospital which was Friday to effect the arrest to honor the Bench Warrant.

“They came and saw my condition and could not effect the arrest and went back.

“I was discharged that evening and I went home on excuse duty and I was to come to court on the following Tuesday,” he stated.

*Yoni Kulendi’s Phone call*

He narrated that, “on that Monday night which was still on the excuse duty, around 10:57pm, I got a call from my cousin, Justice Yoni Kulendi that the Hon. Attorney General wanted to talk to me, so he handed his phone to the Hon. Attorney General.

“He asked how I was doing with my health and I said I was doing well.

“He then asked whether I will be coming to court the next day and I said I will be coming.

“Then he said since I am not well, this should be very quick and that he needed my cooperation and I asked him what type of cooperation,” Mr Jakpa said.

*Fantastic Jakpa*

He said, “…before he (Godfred Dame) answered the question, he said I was very fantastic in court in defending myself and that I broke down the contract for everybody in the court to understand the contract so I thanked him for the compliment.

“Then he said, first it was about Sherry Aryeetey’s letter that he objected to and wanted to tender it through me but the Judge refused and rejected it and I said I remember.

“He then said that I should not talk about that letter,” Jakpa narrated.

“Then, I said, my brother, that letter is an important letter that I must refer to. Then he said I should hold on and that he was not talking about only that letter and I said.
Then he said he will be presenting to me during cross examination cabinet approval letter, parliamentary approval letter and he will be asking me leading questions and all that I needed to do was to confirm to them.

“And I said my brother, I cannot just be confirming letters for you without me interpreting the letters for the court to understand, so I told him that I will be interpreting all letters the way I understand them and not that I will only be interpreting the letters, but I will also be bringing up an issue that Hon. Seth Terkper did not mention when he asked him to provide evidence for authorizing A1, Hon. Ato Forson to sign that LC letters then he said what is that.

“Then Isaid there is a security seal on the letters and that it was only Seth Terkper (DW3) for A1 that could have authorized those security seals to be affixed on those letters and those security seal machines are not in Al’s office.

“Then he quickly said that No, No, No, do not talk about those security seal.

“Seth Terkper did not talk about those seal issues. A1’s lawyers have also not spoken about it so if you bring that seal issues, you will create problems for me and I said my brother, I cannot be economical with the truth so I am going to talk about that seal so he was not happy.

*Exchange of words*

“We exchanged words after I insisted I was going to bring the issue of the seal for everybody to know about it so I was
getting angry so I told him to hand over the phone to my cousin because I did not want to talk to him again and I was getting angry
so Justice Kulendi after receiving the phone from Attorney General, asked me to come home and Isaid it was passed 11:30 midnight and the following day, I was supposed to be going to court.

“He insisted I come home and I said I do not want to come and meet the Attorney
General in his house. He assured me the Attorney General was just leaving and I will not meet him.

“I sat in my car, drove slowly and I got to Justice Yoni Kulendi’s house around 12:20 – 12:30a.m and that was 25th March, 2024 to 26th March, 2024. As soon as I entered Justice Yoni Kulendi’s hall, to my left was seated the Attorney General so I panicked and I stopped at the entrance and I said “why is he still here because I said I did not want to see him”.

“Then he said after talking to me, they had other legal discussions which kept the Attorney General till I arrived so I
told my cousin that this was an ambush and I did not like it.

“Justice Kulendi insisted I sit down so I sat down. Justice Kulendi was facing
directly in front of me and the Attorney General was to my left.

“As soon as I sat down, the Attorney General got up and walked to me and he saw Iwas very very angry because I had earlier told him alot of unpleasant things on the phone that I do not want to mention here so he got to me and said “my brother, all I am saying, just cooperate
with me and you are going to be acquitted”.

“And I said I cannot trust anyone of you here and my cousin got angry because I said I cannot trust anyone in the room. He asked me why I was saying that.

“Then I said before the submission of no case, two of you had assured me that I was going to be discharged but he the Attorney General argued against my submission of no case after I had given him documents he demanded from me and did not honor his part of the bargain.

“Then the Attorney General jumped in and said “my brother, you know I do not run the office alone”.

“When they submitted their position against the submission of no case, I could not say No because I do not work alone at the office of the Attorney General so I asked him, if you cannot fulfill your promise to me in your own office, how can you guarantee that I can be acquitted at the final judgment since you cannot control your own staff in your office?

“How can you control the Judge if she decides to bang me in, then I will have to be appealing from Nsawam.

“Then he said everything has been arranged and that I should not worry about that. Then I said No, I will fight you and the judiciary to the last drop of my blood so I was getting angry because they had betrayed me.

“So, I told him that I cannot allow this case to go to its logical conclusion as he is expecting me to do without fighting for my liberty because he is a witness to how hostile the Judge is to me from the inception of the trial to date.

“Then he told me that, I should not worry about the Judge and that everything had been arranged and I said I cannot cooperate with him.

“All these while, he was still standing on his feet while Iwas seated. It was then he told me, my brother, I am under pressure and I said that was not my business.

*Akufo-Addo, Ken Ofori-Atta pressure*

“Then he said, look ‘The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta and the President’ are on my neck mounting pressure.

“They want this case to finish by first week in May so I asked him why first week in May?

“Then he said you may not know but according to the constitution, you cannot have a by-election six months to a general election so if I can cooperate with him and they can just get Hon. Ato Forson (Al) just one month in Nsawam, his seat will be declared vacant and they will go for a By- election.

“So I told him that, going for By-election at Central Region, how are you sure you are going to win the By-election.

“Then he said, Central Region, they are cheap, we will pump money on them and we will win that seat. NDC will come and beg us for pardon and we will use it to get our things to go through in parliament so I asked him “this is the reason why you want me to cooperate?”

“So I said this is about control of resources and political power. You people have cancelled all my contracts.

“You have destroyed my businesses and you now want me to cooperate with you so you can hold on to power and resources and I said as for that, I will not do it.

“So he walked back and sat in his seat so we had another verbal exchanges in front of Justice Kulend which were very unpleasant ones.

“So he got angry, got up and said he was leaving and that was around 1:30a.m. of 26th March, 2024 and that particular morning, we were to come to court on that 26th March, 2024.

“So as he got up to go with anger, I also got up that I was also going and my cousin said I should sit down so I sat down and he went and
saw of the Attorney General.

“He came back to the hall and had about an hour more discussions with me but I cannot go into that discussion because it was a family discussion and I cannot talk about that one.

“So I left to home and I got home around 3:30a.m and I was supposed to prepare and come to court.

“In fact when he was complimenting me trying to get me to be okay so that we could talk, then I told him that I have engaged Thaddeus Sory as my lawyer.

“Then he said he is already aware. I did not ask him how he got to know, then he said in a jovial manner that why did you engage Thaddeus Sory”.

“You are an intelligent and hot- headed man defending yourself well and you have decided to go and pick another intelligent and hot-headed lawyer so now do you want to go and create problems for me in the court and spoil my case.

“So I said you know this is my fourth lawyer and I needed that type of lawyer to secure my liberty. I told him that you know he is good but he is expensive and I have to do it. Then he said “anyway, anyway”.

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