The acting Chief Director of the Ministry of Justice, Mr Suleiman Ahmed, yesterday told the Financial Division of the High Court sitting in Accra that the first tranche of GH¢17million paid to Alfred Woyome was as a result of a judgement of the High Court.
He said after the judgement, the Attorney-General and the accused person, together with his lawyers, entered into a negotiation, out of which that payment was made.
This came to light when counsel for Woyome, Mr Sarfo Buabeng, continued with his cross-examination of Mr Ahmed. He was testifying on behalf of the prosecution.
Mr Ahmed admitted that the negotiation was executed and filed at the court as terms of settlement.
Woyome has been charged with two counts of wilfully causing financial loss to the state and defrauding by false pretence, for allegedly making false representation to claim GH¢51.2 million from the government through a default judgement.
Mr Ahmed later identified a letter which counsel for Woyome said was dated on April 11, 2010, written by the A-G to the Finance Ministry, justifying why Woyome should be paid.
Counsel Mr Woyome told the court that another letter written by Mrs Betty Mould Iddrisu justified a petition brought by Woyome and the claims in the petition but Mr Ahmed said he had not seen that letter.
Earlier in his evidence-in-chief, Mr Ahmed had told the court that Woyome was paid the judgement debt in three instalments.
Before the payment was effected, he said, the Ministry of Finance engaged lawyers for the accused person on the mode of payment, and the parties agreed that payment of GH¢17,094,483.53 in three equal instalments amounting to GH¢51,283,449 should be made.
He explained that per the agreement, the first, second and third instalments were scheduled to be paid in the first week of July, 2010, end of July 2010 and the end of August 2010 respectively, according to a letter signed by a former Attorney-General, Mrs Betty Mould Iddrisu.
Mr Ahmed added that the mode of payments was formally communicated to the parties by a letter signed by the acting Chief Director of the Ministry of Finance and copied to the Attorney-General.
He pointed out that the Finance Minister at the time, Dr Kwabena Duffour, instructed the Controller and Accountant General in a letter to pay the negotiated amount to Woyome through the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB House) in Accra.
Mr Ahmed is the eighth prosecution witness in the case, presided over by Mr Justice John Ajet–Nasam.
He has, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges and is currently on a GH¢20 million bail.
Sitting continues on July 22 and 23, 2013.
By Michael Donkor/Ghana