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September 20, 2017 | Headlines

'Don't Blame Me For Payment In The Purchase Of ‘Useless’ Ambulances'

CitiFMonline
'Don't Blame Me For Payment In The Purchase Of ‘Useless’ Ambulances'

Former Deputy Finance Minister, Cassiel Ato Forson, has denied media reports suggesting that he sanctioned the purchase of some ambulances that were declared unfit to be used for that purpose.

The country incurred a $2.4 million loss after 30 ambulances were procured in 2014 by the Ministry of Health, but were later found to be faulty.

With 200 ambulances originally supposed to be purchased, the government suspended the deal after the ones which had been delivered did not meet required specifications.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the Minority spokesperson on Finance stated that, the Finance Ministry at the time only “issued at sight letters of credit” on behalf of the Health Ministry after they had put in a request.

“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,” the statement from Ato Forson said.

“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.”

According to him, the letter only guaranteed that payment would only be made once the supplier of the ambulances fulfilled their end of the agreement.

“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,” the statement added.

” I, Cassiel Ato Forson acting as Deputy Minister of Finance then, never made payment to Big Seas for the supply of ambulances.

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‘Unfit ambulances result of no inspection’

With fingers being pointed at several officials over the acquisition of the faulty ambulances, the Executive Director of the National Ambulance Service, Prof. Ahmed Zakariah, revealed that the vehicles were not inspected before the payment was made.

According to him, there should have been inspections at various levels of the production to ensure that the manufacturer was producing exactly what was required by the country when it was being procured in 2015 under the John Mahama government.

“Ordinarily, there should have been three inspection processes; one before the start of the production to enable the manufacturer to gather the specifications of government, and the second is in the course of production to ensure that the vehicles are being produced according to the given specifications, and the final one should have been after the vehicle had been produced, to confirm that all the specifications have been followed.”

Story So Far:
September 13 – EOCO to investigate purchase of 30 ambulances $2.4 million, under the Mahama administration

September 13 – Former Health Minister Alex Segbefia denies contract for ambulances was signed under his tenure

September 14 – Executive Director of the National Ambulance Service says ambulances weren't inspected before purchase

September 18 – Cassiel Ato Forson denies sanctioning payment for faulty ambulances

Below is the full statement from Cassiel Ato Forson:

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 fulfills 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.


By: Edwin Kwakofi/citifmonline.com/Ghana

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