The Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, has questioned the Health Ministry’s adoption of a sole-sourcing procurement option in 2010, in favour of Big Sea General Trading LLC in the procurement of the controversial 200 ambulances during the Mahama administration.
The ambulances, now described as “not fit for purpose”, have become the subject matter of a prosecution.
A former Finance Minister, Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson is being tried for wilfully causing financial loss to the State, together with a former Chief Director of the Health Ministry, Sylvester Anemana, and a businessman, Richard Jakpa.
Mr. Agyeman-Manu told Justice Afia Serwaa Asare-Botwe’s Court that the Health Ministry at the time justified the selection of Big Sea General Trading LLC on the basis that Big Sea was instrumental in “arranged funding for the procurement of the 200 ambulances”.
However, the Health Minister testified that “there is no document in the Ministry that shows that the arrangement for funding was done by Big Sea General Trading LLC”.
The Minister, who is the 4th Prosecution witness in the £2.3 million financial loss trial, also testified that the Parliamentary approval obtained was only in respect of the Stanbic Bank Ghana Limited loan to be procured.
The approval, he said, did not cover the sole-sourcing procurement option later adopted by the Ministry.
“The term sheet that was submitted to Parliament based upon which the approval was granted did not tell anyone who had been selected to do the supply of ambulances. That was why I said that this was a bit strange to me and this wasn’t the correct move at the time.”
According to Mr. Agyeman-Manu, the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) at the time requested further information on the sole sourcing of Big Sea General Trading LLC for the procurement of the ambulances.
He maintained that, at the time that, Big Sea was instrumental in securing the £15.8 million loan facility from Stanbic Bank Ghana Limited.
However, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu insisted, “I have not sighted any document of such nature in the Ministry being used to justify the single-sourcing procurement method in favour of Big Sea Trading LLC”.