Crime

Ato Forson trial: Alex Segbefia, 2 others ordered to appear and testify

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Former Health Minister, Alex Segbefia; former Controller and Accountant General, Seidu Kotomah and a former Budget Director at the Health Ministry, Patrick Nimo have been ordered by an Accra High Court to appear and testify in the trial of Minority Leader, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson.

Dr Forson’s lawyers urged the court to issue the order after they failed to call a witness at the court’s hearing on June 22, 2013.

“Former controller and accountant general. Seidu Kotomah was to testify. Unfortunately, we have not been able to secure the attendance of the witness in court today to testify.

“Upon realising, we made diligent efforts to get other witnesses to appear in court to testify, specifically, I approached Alexander Kwasi Mould who has already filed a witness statement whether he will be able to attend court today to testify.

“But he indicated his inability to do so and gave reasons including not being in the country. I also got A1 (Dr Forson) to talk to other witnesses. And not a positive response has been received,” Lead Counsel Dr Abdul Basit Bamba stated.

Court of Appeal judge Justice Afia Serwaa Asare Botwe who is hearing the case as an additional High Court Judge then pointed out she had seen a motion for an order to be issued.

Dr Bamba explained it had become a necessary measure to ensure that the court’s planned schedule for the case is not delayed.

He pointed out that he was making the application under Section 58 of Ghana’s Court’s Act, 1993(ACT 459). This provides as follows;

“Section 58-Summoning Witnesses.

In any proceedings, and at any stage of the proceedings, a court either on its own motion or on the application of any party, may summon any person to attend to give evidence, or to produce any document in his possession or excerpts from it subject to any enactment or rule of law.”

This request was for the appearance of Alex Segbefia, Patrick Nimo and Seidu Kotomah.

Justice Botwe granted the request, pointing out that should the named individuals fail to show up, she will issue a warrant for their arrest.

“I have actually issued a warrant of arrest for a certain COP who failed to show up on the day he was to show up. I am more than happy to issue a witness summons. If they don’t show up, then I issue a warrant of arrest”. She stated.

The names of two other persons, Former Finance Minister Seth Terkper and Former advisor at the Ministry of Health Dr Sam Mensah came up but the request for such an order was withdrawn.

Mr Terkper Joynews understands has committed to testifying via a video link while Dr Mensah is out of the jurisdiction.

The minority leader has so far been unable to directly call a witness to the stand.

The first witness who testified from his defence list was equally ordered to show up to testify. This was an Official of Stanbic Bank Henry Myles Mills.

Dr Forson and two others are standing trial for causing financial loss to the state in the procurement of ambulances for the country.

The hearing of the case continues on June 29.

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