Alfred Agbesi Woyome yesterday claimed that the Government of Ghana, after refusing to give him the right to build the stadia for the Confederation of Africa Nations (CAN 2008) football tournament, later used funds he and his consortium arranged with Merchant Bank to build the Accra and the Kumasi Sports Stadia.
The beleaguered National Democratic Congress (NDC) bankroller made this assertion in his examination in-chief led by Osafo Buabeng, his counsel, in an Accra High Court presided over by Justice John Ajet-Nassam – where he is on trial for the alleged fraudulent receipt of GH¢51.28 in judgment debt.
According to Mr. Woyome, he had a meeting with Vanlare Dosoo, former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana and head of the Financial Committee tasked to look into the financial capabilities of the bidders.
At that meeting, he claimed that Mr. Vanlare Dosoo asked him if he and his consortium had alternative source of funding as the committee realized it would take four months for the consortium’s funds to be made available for the project.
Mr. Woyome said once it was agreed that the funds would be delayed, he presented the committee with an alternative source of financing arraigned by the consortium with Merchant Bank, “which the Government later borrowed from the bank for the construction of the Kumasi and the Accra Sports Stadia”.
Woyome also alleged that after he had been informed by Yaw Osafo-Maafo the then Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, that he (Woyome) had won the bid for the stadia construction, the Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC), Dr. Kofi Amoah, asked Osafo-Maafo to include the name of Shanghai Group in the list of those who were bidding.
The accused person, a businessman, said the Minister in a letter, told the LOC Chairman that he could not do that; and asserted he (accused) had the said letter by Mr. Osafo-Maafo which he wanted to tender in evidence.
However, the principal State Attorney, Mrs. Yvonne Obuobisa, objected on grounds that it was not authenticated and that there was no signature on it among other things.
Counsel for Woyome withdrew the said letter and prayed the court to order for an original copy to be made available from the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
Explaining further, Woyome said eight firms tendered for the right to build the stadia, including Vamed Engineering and M-Powapak, producers of Red Bull, which he said he is the Chairman.
He added that even though he had branches of M-Powapak in Austria, Togo and other countries, he used the Ghanaian branch for the bidding process.
The accused stated that when he arrived from Austria on July 4, 2005, he put together all the necessary documents to prepare for the bid which included proof of availability of funds and the period within which the money could be made available, among others.
He said that the bid was closed at 5:00 pm after he had submitted his documents at 3.45 pm on July 4, 2005.
Mr. Woyome posited that he was subsequently invited to a meeting with the Dosoo Committee and was asked to secure alternative funding.
The suspect mentioned those included in the Financial Committee as Ms Yvonne Quansah and Paul Asimenu, both staff of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.
He said companies which wanted to bid were also to meet a technical committee which required architectural drawings and stated that he provided all the requirements.
He told the court that after he had met Osafo-Maafo who informed him that he (Woyome) had won the bid, the then Deputy Minister for Youth and Sports Osei Bonsu (OB) Amoah, met him and it was agreed that he could commence work after he had met the LOC Chairman.
He said Dr. Kofi Amoah, in the course of their meeting, asked him to wait for a while; and it was later that he (Woyome) learned that the LOC Chairman had asked Shangai Group – which was initially not part of the bidders – to be included days after the bid had closed.
The case has been adjourned to May 29, 2014.
Woyome had told the court at the last hearing that he pre-financed activities of the Local Organizing Committee of the CAN 2008, chaired by OB Amoah, and was asked to meet Dr. Amoah.
The accused claimed that he paid $500,000 on the orders of then Chief of Staff, Kwadwo Mpiani, as initial funding for the projects.
According to him, he pre-financed the feasibility studies, environmental impact assessment and architectural drawings of facilities needed for the CAN 2008 tournament.
Mr. Woyome said he contracted a foreign company called PMP Legacy Company in England to develop feasibility studies for the entire projects of CAN 2008.
He explained that funding arrangements for the CAN 2008 were expected to be sourced from some barrels of oil which he convinced the Libyan government to support Ghana with.