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Seth Terkper, Shirley Ayittey were evil, they sabotaged the ambulance project says Richard Jakpa

Richard Jakpa is standing trial with Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, current Minority Leader, for willfully causing financial loss to the State

The third accused person in the ongoing ambulance trial, Richard Japka, on Thursday, 20 June 2024, informed the court during his cross examination by the prosecution that the former Ministers of Finance and Health in the erstwhile Mahama administration, Mr Seth Terkper and the late madam Shirley Ayittey were evil, and that, they deliberately sabotaged the ambulance project.

Richard Jakpa is standing trial together with 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 in court documentary evidences in support of its case, and was able to establish a prima facie case against all the accused persons.

The prosecution led evidence to show that the transaction had not received the necessary approvals as required by law, and that the then Health Minister, Shirley Ayittey and the Finance Minister, Seth Terkper had objected to this transaction citing irregularities, breaches of law, as well as value for money concerns.

Having established a solid case against all the accused persons, the court ordered them to open their defense, in the course of which the 3rd accused person is currently being cross examined by the prosecution to ascertain the veracity of his claims.

It was during this exercise that he (Japka) informed the court that the ambulance transaction was sabotaged by the two former Ministers, and claimed that, they were evil.

In the course of cross-examination,  DPP,  Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa posed several questions with Mr Jakpa providing long and winding answers.

Question: “I am putting it 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, that he would turn round 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 June 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 it. I had to compartmentalise 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 of my cousin before. 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.

Jakpa’s testimony today has essentially confirmed the case of the prosecution that Ato Forson acted without lawful authority thereby occasioning the loss to the State.

The cross examination of the 3rd accused person by the prosecution continues on Thursday, 27 June 2024.

Reporting by Wilberforce Asare in Accra

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