Alfred Agbesi Woyome and Bette Mould Iddrisu
The beleaguered National Democratic Congress (NDC) bankroller, Alfred Agbesi Woyome, has stated that the money he was seeking for the Ghana Government would have been ready if it (government) had approved the letters of guarantee.
He said even though the money did not come, the then Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Betty Mould-Iddrisu, acknowledged the financial engineering role he played hence, approving the money paid to him through letters she wrote.
The businessman told an Accra Financial Court presided over by Justice John Najet-Assam – where he is standing trial for allegedly defrauding the State to the tune of GH¢51.28 million – that the government failed to approve the money before the expiration of the date of approval which was in August 2005, and added that as a financial engineer, his role was internationally chargeable.
Mr. Woyome said these in his examination in-chief led by his lawyer, Osafo Boabeng. He maintained that the loan came in the form of letters of guarantee issued to the government, which was obliged to approve the letters but failed to do so.
The accused person told the court that concessionary loans such as the one he was seeking from the Bank of Austria, were not usually given to governments to use for projects, but were usually released through him.
He posited that he did not claim he had transferred money to anybody but had said he had arranged for the money to be made available for the stadia and the regional hospitals projects.
He further stated that Bank of Austria, through him, financed the building of the Begoro and the Sogakope hospitals; and that the same method would have been used with the said loans he was contracted for the government.
The accused person, who claimed he was entitled to 2% of the total value of the contract, noted that 764,117,646 Euro would have been used for stadia and wellness center while 329,411,765 Euros would have been used for medical and wellness centres in all the regions, among others.
Mr. Woyome said, ‘It was very difficult for any institution to give 1.1 billion Euros at a time when Ghana was a Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC),’ adding that financial institutions did not have any permission to guarantee loans on behalf of the Government of Ghana. Betty’s Support
Relying mostly on letters written by Betty Mould-Iddrisu to the Ministry of Finance urging the Minister to pay him, he stated that the role for which he was paid the money was financial engineering.
According to the NDC moneybag, a letter by Betty explained that a letter sent to him ‘on August 5, 2005 formed the basis of a binding agreement between him and the government,’ and said the process having been wrongfully terminated, he deserved payment to the amount he financially engineered.
Explaining further, he said Betty responded to queries raised by Dr. Kwabena Duffour, then Finance Minster, about the role he (Woyome) played and said Betty had told Duffuor that he (Woyome) had set up offices in Italy, Austria and Switzerland in connection with his financial engineering role.
He said Betty urged negotiation on the modalities of payment in breach of the binding agreement between them and added that she (Betty) had also told Duffuor that the role he (Woyome) played was internationally chargeable.
Alfred Woyome stated that the letters signed from Bank Austria which the prosecution claimed could not be verified, also had the signatures of those who signed letters addressed to the Government of Ghana. He observed that ‘everything about the deal was genuine.’
Agbesi Woyome indicated that Austro-Invest was contracted to do syndication of funds which he said he ended up doing himself.
The businessman had at the last hearing told the court that former President John Evans Atta-Mills ordered negotiations into his (Woyome’s) 2% claim and added that he met him on the issue but fell short of telling the court what transpired between them.
By Fidelia Achama
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