The trial judge in a case of causing financial loss to the state, brought against a former Deputy Minister of Finance and current Minority Leader in Parliament, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, has asked him to show proof of authorisation that gave into the request for the Bank of Ghana 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 the written submissions of all parties, she was inclined to ask the accused to open his defence on the 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.
She was quick to add that this was only a preliminary ruling, as the court was yet to make a determination on the facts of the case.
She noted that the accused had stated in the course of the trial that he had authorisation 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 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 explained that in criminal cases, it is 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 was given up to April 11, 2023, to file witness statements and indicate who those witnesses are.