“Prove Seth Terkper’s authorisation for Letters of Credits”– Judge tells Ato Forson

The trial judge in a case of causing financial loss to the state brought against former Deputy Finance Minister and current Minority Leader in Parliament, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, has asked him to show proof of authorisation from the then Finance Minister to request the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to set up Letters of Credit in favour of Big Sea Trading Limited.

Delivering a ruling on a submission of no case brought by lawyers of Dr Forson, Justice Afia Serwaa Asare Botchwey, said the prosecution had met the threshold of establishing a prima facie case against Dr Forson.

She added that having reviewed all the arguments in court and written submissions of all parties, she was inclined to ask the accused to open his defence on two counts of causing financial loss to the state over the issuance of an LC in favour of Big Sea for the importation of some ambulances.

Preliminary hearing

She, however, added that, this was only a preliminary ruling as the court was yet to make a determination of facts either way.

She noted that the accused had stated in the cause of the trial that, he had authorization to request the BoG to establish the letters of credit but had not offered conclusive evidence to back it.

She said a statement taken from the then-former Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, was not conclusive as to whether or not he gave Dr Forson authority to have the LCs established.

Justice Asare Botchwey futher explained that in criminal cases, it was the duty of the person making a positive averment to show proof thereof and not the party making a negative averment.

This ruling appears to pave the way for Seth Terkper to be called as a witness for Dr Forson if the defence so wishes. The defence, has therefore, been given up to April 11, 2023 to file witness statements and indicate who those witnesses are.

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