Health Minister Kwaku Agyeman-Manu has noted that documents and reports filed by Ministry of Health under the Mahama administration and National Ambulance Service portray that they had the country at heart.
He said at the time the ministry initiated processes to procure the ambulances, the country was indeed in need of ambulances. He however said, the procurement processes were fraught with irregularities, especially on the part of the first accused, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, former deputy finance minister.
Resuming his testimony in court Thursday, July 21, against Deputy Finance Minister Ato Forson and two others, Mr Agyeman-Manu told the court that while he served as chairman of the transitions committee, he was presented with documents in which he sighted that government had made payments for some 200 ambulances but had not taken receipt of them.
“My lady, what I saw practically convinced me that my predecessors acted in good faith in the interest of the nation because the ambulances were not fit for purpose as had previously been noted.
“They had documented based on the report that the ambulances were not fit for purpose. The national ambulances services CEO continued to advise me as the health Minister that the vehicles could not be taken over because they were not designed as ambulances,” he told the court as he was led by Attorney General and Minister for Justice to tender in documents as evidence.
He also asserted that some 10 ambulances which had been initially delivered were found to be defective after an examination by the Ambulance Service.
Providers of the vehicles, Big Sea Ltd were informed of the faults which rendered the ambulances useless.
According to the Health Minister, Big Sea Ltd admitted to the defaults and arranged for a meeting with officials of the Health Ministry to come to their assembling plant in Dubai to correct the defects.
Mr Agyeman Manu however told the court that the meeting did not materialize because did not because Big Sea Ltd kept rescheduling the date for the meeting.
“The Ministry wrote back to Big Sea reminding Big Sea of the obligation of rectification. The Ministry of Health then wrote to the Ministry of Finance indicating its decision to suspend the contract for the supply of the ambulance,” he noted.
He added that the Ministry of Health ultimately sent a team of officials to Dubai to meet with Big Sea Ltd to rectify the defects but the company failed to do so.