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Ambulance Trial: Court Processes Are Not for Political Vendetta – Kpebu

Private legal practitioner Martin Kpebu has said that court processes should not be used to intimidate political opponents.

His comments come on the back of a revelation at the court on Thursday where the third accused person in the ongoing ambulance trial, Richard Jakpa, revealed that the Attorney-General has engaged him severally to implicate the first accused, Minority Leader Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson.

Dr. Ato Forson, Sylvester Anemana and private businessman Richard Jakpa are standing trial for willfully causing a financial loss of €2.37 million to the state through a contract to purchase 200 ambulances for the Ministry of Health, among other charges.

The state has, however, discontinued the case against Sylvester Amemana.

During court proceedings on Thursday, May 23, 2024, Mr. Jakpa fumed at the Attorney-General for accusing him of defending the Minority Leader in his testimony.

“The A-G has on several occasions engaged me at odd hours to help him make a case against A1 [Ato Forson] and I have evidence for that. If he pushes me, I will open the Pandora’s box. I don’t understand why the A-G will accuse me of defending A1 [Ato Forson] when I’m here to defend myself,” Jakpa fumed.

However, the human rights lawyer described the alleged actions of the Attorney-General as “suborning a witness” to lie under oath in court, emphasising that such actions cannot be classified under the plea bargaining law.

Speaking to Alred Ocansey on 3FM’s new analysis programme Hot Edition on Thursday, May 23, Mr Kpebu said, “so asking a witness to come and lie, perjury, to come and lie under oath because he says the Attorney-General was teaching him how to implicate Ato Forson. Jakpa is a grown man, he knows the difference.”

“We should have an inquiry into that,” he stated.

He indicated that the actions of the A-G in other jurisdictions could be grounds for the court to discontinue the case, citing abuse of trial, “where a court finds that this trial is not for justice but it’s just to do in a political opponent.”

“As soon as the court finds that the tools of justice are being used for political vendetta, the judge can stop the trial. Yes, we don’t encourage that at all,” he stressed.

He added, “The court is there to do justice, to serve the ends of justice, not to be used as a weapon against political opponents.”

Meanwhile, the A-G’s office, in response, denied the allegations, asserting that the third accused rather engaged the state severally for plea bargaining, which has since not been accepted by the state.

The A-G further added that it has video evidence of the first accused and former Deputy Finance Minister, Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson, meeting with the A-G to plead for the discontinuation of the prosecution.