A former Minister of Finance Cassiel Ato Forson has denied authorising payment for some defective ambulances being procured by the Health Ministry in 2014.
The 30 ambulances, which formed part of 200 ambulances that were to be procured by the Ministry of Health to boost the healthcare delivery under a contract, cost 2.4 million Euros and were rejected because they did not meet specifications. A unit cost 79,000 euros.
Mr. Forson has been accused of giving the greenlight to buy the vehicles which have become the subject of controversy in the media. Mercedes has recommended that Ghana will be better of converting the substandard ambulances it imported under the NDC into 30-seater mini buses.
“I want to put on record that the Ministry of Finance only acted upon an instruction from the Ministry of Health to issue at sight letters of credit on their behalf using MOH 2014 budgetary allocations,” Mr. Forson said in a statement.
“Finally, I, Cassiel Ato Forson acting as Deputy Minister of Finance then NEVER made PAYMENT to BIG SEAS for the supply of ambulances,” he stressed.
Below is the full statement:
I have become aware of a series of media reportage indicating that I, Cassiel Ato Forson acting as the Deputy Finance Minister authorized payment of some defective ambulances 'procured' in 2014 by the ministry of health.
I want to put on record that the Ministry of Finance only acted upon an instruction from the Ministry of Health to issue at sight letters of credit on their behalf using MOH 2014 budgetary allocations.
The Ministry of Finance also instructed the Controller and Accountant General's Department to pay for the bank charges accrued to the Bank of Ghana as a result of the issuance of letters of credit on behalf of the Ministry of Health.
It is important to note that letters of credit issued by the Bank of Ghana is only a guarantee for payment and not payment in itself. It is only when the supplier fulfils their part of the obligation under the contract that payment will be made.
In modern business practice, a letter of credit (LC) also known as a Documentary Credit, is a written commitment by a bank issued after a request by an importer (foreign buyer) that payment will be made to the beneficiary (exporter) provided that the terms and conditions stated in the LC been met, as evidenced by the presentation of specified documents.
At Sight – A credit that the announcer bank immediately pays after inspecting the carriage documents from the seller.
Finally, I, Cassiel Ato Forson acting as Deputy Minister of Finance then NEVER made PAYMENT to BIG SEAS for the supply of ambulances.