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Request letter alone can’t establish Letter of Credit – Witness in Ato Forson case

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Ato Forson

A second witness in the trial involving Dr Ato Forson and two others says the Central Bank will not be able to establish a Letter of Credit with only a request letter from the Ministry of Finance.

Mr Edward Markwei said based on that letter, the Controller and Accountant General Department would proceed to write to the Bank of Ghana and attach other documents for the Bank to fully establish the LC.

The witness, who is the Head of Trade Finance Unit of the Banking Department of the Bank of Ghana, said this in a further cross examination by Dr Abdul Basit Aziz Bamba, Counsel for Dr Forson.

Dr Forson, a former Deputy Minister of Finance, was granted a self-recognisance bail of GH¢3 million for allegedly willfully causing financial loss of 2,370,000 euros to the State.

He is also facing an additional charge of “Intentionally misapplying public property contrary to section 1 (2) of the Public Property Protection Act, 1977 (SMCD 140).”

Dr Anemana, a Former Chief Director at the Ministry of Health, was also granted a bail of one million Ghana Cedis with three sureties one of whom shall be a public servant not below the rank of a director.

While Mr Dzakpa, a Businessman, was also granted bail of five million Ghana Cedis with three sureties one of whom must be justified with documents of landed property.

Mr Markwei said the primary document that granted approvals to the Bank of Ghana to establish Letter of Credit was the request letter from the Ministry of Finance.

“Without that letter, the Letter of Credit can never be established, because, the Letter of Credit guarantees payment to the beneficiaries up to the amount stated in the letter,” he said.

He said if approval were not granted, there would be no grounds for the Letter of Credit.

Asked whether he was aware BoG was an independent body, which could not be subjected to control by the Ministry of Finance or any other Ministry, the witness said what he knew was that the BoG was in the business of establishing Letter of Credit.

He said the Bank took commission on the establishment of Letters of Credit and that it was one of the avenues where it got its revenue.

Mr Alex Owiredu Dankwa, Counsel for Dr Anemana ,asked the witness what role the Ministry of Health played in respect to the Letter of Credit in favour of Big Sea Company and the witness said the Ministry was the institution that would receive the Ambulance.

He said the Ministry’s address was placed on the letter as the applicant, but the Ministry did not apply straight to the BoG, and it did not write to the Bank for the establishment of the Letter of Credit.

The Counsel suggested to the witness that Dr Anemana was not the Chief Director of the Ministry of Health from February 2013, and that he was at the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology but the witness said he needed to check the records.

Mr Dankwa again suggested to the witness that in his 25-page witness statement, he did not make any reference to Dr Anemana, and the witness said, “l believed so.”

The witness said he had not cited any correspondence between the Bank and the Dr Anemana.

The State will present Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Manu Minister of Health as its third prosecution witness.

The case has been adjourned to June 16, 2022, for continuation.

Source: GNA

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