THE SUPREME Court will on June 14, 2013 decide on whether or not it was justifiable for the state to have paid an amount of GH¢51.2million to NDC financier Alfred Agbesi Woyome, as judgment debt.
The judgment, which would likely have an effect on the Woyome cases in the lower court, was based on a suit filed by former Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Martin Amidu, challenging the payment of the said amount to Mr. Woyome.
Mr. Amidu dragged the Attorney-General, Waterville Holdings (BVI) Limited and Alfred Agbesi Woyome to the Supreme Court seeking a refund of the money.
The nine-member panel presided over by Justice Samuel Kofi Date-Bah yesterday slated June 14 for judgment after it admitted a memorandum of issues filed by the parties in the case.
When the matter was called, Justice Date-Bah indicated to the parties that they were to agree on the issues for trial.
However, Mr. Amidu indicated that he and the defendants had filed their issues and therefore it was left for the court to narrow them (issues).
The judge, after all the parties had indicated that they were relying on the documents they had filed, subsequently adjourned the case to the said date to give its final judgment.
The other Justices on the panel were Julius Ansah, Sophia Adinyira, Rose Owusu, Jones Victor Dotse, Paul Baffoe-Bonnie, Anin Yeboah, Sulley Gbadegbe and Vida Akoto Bamfo.
Mr. Amidu, in his suit, asked for reliefs including an order directed at Mr. Woyome and Waterville to refund to the Republic of Ghana all sums of money paid to them severally or jointly upon or as a result of the unconstitutional conduct of the AG in purported pursuance of the two inoperative agreements of April 26, 2006 or “any other unconstitutional agreement as having been made and received by them in violation of Article 181 of the Constitution”.
Mr. Amidu, who said his action was based on “public interest”, argued that on a true and proper interpretation of Article 181(3), (4), (5), and (6) and the spirit of the 1992 Constitution, the Republic of Ghana could not incur liability for any foreign or international loan or expenses incidental to such foreign or international loan transactions without Parliamentary approval of the transaction for it to be operative and binding on the Republic of Ghana
Similarly, the court slated June 21, 2013 to deliver its judgment in another suit in which Mr. Amidu disputed the payment of $1.3million judgment debt to Isofoton S.A, a Spanish company.
All the parties in the case relied on the documents they had filed. The parties were Mr. Amidu, as plaintiff and Attorney-General, Isofoton S.A and Anane-Agyei Forson, the Ghanaian agent for Isofoton, as defendants.
Mr. Amidu had sued the AG, Isofoton S. A. of Montalba, Madrid, Spain and Anane-Agyei Forson, seeking nine declarations including what he said was the illegal payment made to Isofoton by the government.
According to Mr. Amidu, it was wrong for the High Court to have entertained Isofoton S. A.’s suits against the Republic of Ghana on grounds that Isofoton lacked the locus standi and a cause of action to commence the action in the first place because of the absence of any operative contract with the Government of Ghana.
He said the conduct of Isofoton S. A. and Mr. Anane-Agyei Forson in making claims against the Government when they knew that there was no operative contract with the Government of Ghana was inconsistent with the Constitution.
Through an application brought by Mr. Amidu to maintain the status quo, the Supreme Court on March 7, 2013 stopped Government of Ghana from making any further payment of the debt to Isofoton, until the final determination of the suit.
The judgment debt arose from the erstwhile NPP government’s abrogation of a contract with Isofoton.
The contract was for the execution of the rural solar electrification project and the Agriculture Minister at the time had contracted Isofoton to undertake the project.
In 2008, the company brought an action against the state and obtained a default judgment. The state, reportedly in 2009, filed processes to have the judgment set aside but later opted for an out-of-court settlement.
By Mary Anane