The Supreme Court on 29th July, 2014 ordered businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome, a self-proclaimed financier of the ruling National Democratic Congress to refund a total of Ghc51.2 million judgement debt payment he received in 2010, but many Ghanaians are skeptical that the said amount would ever reflect in the account books of the State.
Their skepticisms are firmly hinged on two previous rulings by the apex court which ordered two companies; Waterville and Isofoton to refund to the state various sums of money, but over a year down the line, the government is yet to retrieve a pesewa of the amount.
There is however a glimpse of hope for Ghanaians that the money could be retrieved by a determined government if the account held by Mr. Agbesi Woyome at the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) remains frozen by a Court order.
The Economic and Organised Crimes Office froze Mr Woyome’s accounts following allegations that he defrauded the state through false pretense in the controversial Ghc51 million judgment debt scandal that rocked the country in early 2011.
However, the Court of Appeal in February 2013 by a unanimous decision, ordered that accounts belonging to Mr. Woyome be released to him except for those with the ADB.
Mr. Woyome’s accounts at the ADB were to remain frozen because those were the accounts through which the Ghc51 million transaction was processed.
Many have suggested that if there is any amount of money in those accounts, then the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice must as a matter of urgency move swiftly to enter Execution of Judgment and transfer the money into government accounts. If the said account has nicodemously been unfrozen and money taken out, then the State must institute a probe and bring to book the perpetrators.
Justices at the highest court last month by a unanimous decision ruled that Mr. Woyome had no valid contract to be paid that amount of money.
The ruling followed a review of the court’s own earlier decision sought by former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Martin Amidu, who insisted that Woyome, like Waterville and Isofoton, had no valid contract to be paid any amount by the state in the said judgement debt.
The Supreme Court ruled in favour of Mr. Amidu and directed Isofoton and Waterville to pay back to the State monies paid them, but refused to make a ruling on the Woyome matter because the matter was pending at the High Court.
According to the Supreme Court, the government’s supposed contract with the construction firm, Waterville Holdings Limited (BVI), and the Spanish energy firm Isofoton S.A. were unconstitutional and, therefore, null and void.
Mr. Amidu, not satisfied with the ruling, went back to the Court asking it to review its own decision on Woyome and the Attorney General, whom he joined to the suit against Waterville and Isofoton.
Woyome had been paid Ghc51.2 million in three tranches of 17 million each after claiming that he provided financial engineering to government for the construction of stadia for the CAN 2008.
The Auditor-General’s report issued in 2010 raised concerns about the manner in which the monies were paid, which created a huge controversy in the country at the time.
The controversy led to the resignation of Mrs. Betty Mould Iddrisu, who had been reshuffled to the Education Ministry after serving as the Attorney-General under whose watch and direction the monies were paid.
Mr. Martin Amidu who had then replaced Mrs. Mould Iddrisu as the Attorney General then filed a case of defrauding by false pretence and causing financial loss to the state against Mr. Woyome with the aim of retrieving the amount paid to him.
Unfortunately, no sooner had Mr. Amidu started the process to retrieve the money from Woyome that he was dismissed from government for allegations of misconduct.