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Ambulance trial: We are not politicians, do not scandalize courts – Judge warns parties

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General News of Wednesday, 29 May 2024

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe a High Court judge hearing the case involving former Deputy Finance Minister and Minority Leader, Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson, and businessman Richard Jakpa, both accused of causing a financial loss of €2.37 million to the state, has warned the public to refrain from irresponsible commentary on the case.

This case revolves around a controversial ambulance procurement deal.

According to a hellofmonline.com report, Justice Asare-Botwe’s remarks came in response to public discourse following allegations by Jakpa that the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice had been contacting him during cross-examination.

She emphasized the importance of allowing the court to function without undue public influence, stating, “If anyone will make any commentary which looks like scandalizing the court in any way it will not be well.”

The judge highlighted that despite not hearing any prejudicial comments so far, public discussions needed to remain cautious.

“We live in a country where a lot of us don’t understand the workings of the law and the court. Even the most educated people may not actually understand the workings of the law and the court,” she noted.

Justice Asare-Botwe underscored that the final decision on all legal issues rests with the judiciary, urging the public to respect this process.

“At the end of the day, the public does not have a decision to make, the only person who has a decision to make is yours truly (me) so please allow me to have peace of mind to be able to make a decision,” she asserted.

She also emphasized the importance of maintaining the integrity of the legal profession, cautioning against casting aspersions on the judiciary.

“We are not interested in your politics, we’re not politicians and we don’t want to be. Stay in your arena and let us stay in ours,” she stated.

She adjourned the case to Tuesday, June 4, to rule on an application filed by Dr. Ato Forson’s legal team.

Dr. Forson and Jakpa are accused of causing a €2.37 million financial loss to the state through a deal to procure 200 ambulances between 2014 and 2016.

They face charges of willfully causing financial loss to the state, abetment, contravention of the Public Procurement Act, and intentional misapplication of public property, to which they have pleaded not guilty.

AM/SARA

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