Woyome Case Is Tough – Prosecutor

Matthew Amponsah, a state attorney, yesterday admitted before an Accra Financial Court that he underestimated the workload involved in the trial of embattled National Democratic Congress (NDC) financier, Alfred Agbesi Woyome, for allegedly defrauding the state to the tune of GH¢51.28million.

The chief state attorney made the admission in a court presided over by Justice John Najet-Assam after he had observed the voluminous nature of the submission of ‘no case’ filed by counsel for Woyome.

He said, “We underestimated the work load involved”, and stated that “we pray for extension of time of at least two weeks to enable us respond”.

The state attorney, who said he received a copy of the submission of ‘no case’ filed on March 3, 2014 after being served on February 27, 2014, disclosed that the prosecution needed more time to respond to the issues raised in the submission. Musah Ahmed, counsel for Mr. Woyome, told the court the defence had no objection.

However, Mr. Ahmed was of the opinion that if the State failed to file its response by the next hearing date, it should be seen to have forfeited its right to do so.

According to counsel, it was the State that rushed to bring his client to court and noted that if the prosecution was now saying that it underestimated the load involved, it would receive a lot of bashing.

He said the Attorney General’s Department had a lot of lawyers to work on the case and that its internal problems should not affect the defence, adding that the prosecution’s stand on the “underestimated workload” was untenable.
Mr. Ahmed also stated that due to the nature of the case, the defence would oblige prosecution for the last time.

The case has been adjourned to March 31, 2014.

Mr. Woyome, who had been hauled to court in connection with fraudulently receiving GH¢51.28million as judgment debt from the State, filed a submission of ‘no case,’ asking that the charges against him be dropped.

Counsel for the accused person decided to file the submission after the investigator in the case, ASP Edward Odame Okyere, had concluded his evidence a few weeks ago.

ASP Odame Okyere, the investigator, had told the court that Bank of Austria where Mr. Woyome claimed to have received money for the construction of stadia for the African Cup of Nations (CAN) 2008, had denied that it funded the construction of any stadia in Ghana.

According to him, the Austrian Bank said in a written correspondence to the State through the Attorney-General, that any letters of support given to Mr. Woyome were of no legal effect.

The witness also testified that no bidding contract took place for the construction of the stadia for the CAN 2008 tournament.

The police investigator, who appeared as a prosecution witness in the case involving Alfred Woyome’s dubious payment, revealed that Waterville Holdings and Austro Invest had not been formally registered to operate in Ghana.
Mr. Woyome has been charged with causing financial loss to the State and defrauding by false pretences.

He pleaded not guilty after the State tried to retrieve the money it said it mistakenly paid to him.

Reginald Seth Dogbey, spokesperson for Mr. Woyome, said in an interview a few weeks ago that his boss was confident of walking away.

He said the submission of ‘no case’ was an indication that they were almost going to end the case, and was confident Mr. Woyome would be exonerated.

He claimed the State had “not been able to prove anything” it preferred against Mr. Woyome, adding that from day one, the defence had stuck to its guns that he (Woyome) was “innocent”.