Former Attorney-General (A-G) and Minister of Justice under the erstwhile Kufour-led administration, Nii Ayikoi Otoo, is not the least happy with the attitude of government and state prosecutors in the handling of the infamous Woyome trial.
This is in view of the prosecution’s inability to produce some key and influential witnesses in the ongoing trial in which Mr Woyome who is a businessman and self-confessed financier of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) is being tried for allegedly defrauding the state to the tune of GH¢51.2 million.
On Tuesday, the Commercial Court hearing the case was compelled by circumstance to adjourn sitting for the sixth time for the same reason.
But Mr Ayikoi Otoo believes continuous delay on the part of the prosecution and the state in producing the said witnesses in question was becoming suspicious, insisting that ‘unless they have a very genuine reason, it is becoming inordinate and most watchers of that trial are getting worried.’
‘You will find out that because elections were around the corner, they (referring to government) were compelled to show to Ghanaians at the time that they were ready to, as it were, prosecute and to deal with their own man who had gone wayward’, he noted.
In view of development, the former Attorney-General said ‘it’s as if the government has been retained in power, therefore the will to prosecute is no longer there.’
Six witnesses have so far testified in the case as prosecution witness which in Mr Ayikoi Otoo’s opinion gives a clear indication that ‘the SFO was able to do a very thorough work; in other words they were able to get to the bottom so as to have even found that not all the figures being bandied around happen to be true.’
‘So with that report I don’t know where the delay is coming from because those who said they were not going to attend have even now made themselves available in the court’, he stated insisting ‘one would have thought that this matter could have gone on strictly and the trial could have gone on expeditiously.’
Mr Ayikoi Otoo therefore noted that ‘the slow pace of the case now after the elections creates the impression that the will to prosecute is no longer there’ insisting that ‘they (referring to the government and prosecutors) just hoodwinked Ghanaians into believing that they could deal with their own man, then after the elections they are now trying to drag their feet.’
That notwithstanding, he said ‘one cannot discount that the man himself (referring to Alfred Woyome) held press conference in which he told the President or advised the President not to appoint certain people who have had something to do with the case.’
He believes the case involving Mr Woyome was not exclusive of the NDC.
Other than that, Mr Ayikoi Otoo claims ‘he would not have advised the President not to appoint people who would have had something to do with the substantive case.’
He has therefore asked the government and the prosecution to expedite action on the case before the presiding judge is compelled by prevailing circumstance to throw out the case for want of prosecution.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu