I Paid $0.5m For CAN 2008 – Woyome

Alfred Agbesi Woyome
Alfred Agbesi Woyome on Monday told the Accra High Court hearing his case that he paid $500,000 into the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) account at Prudential Bank to finance the initial projects of CAN 2008.

He claimed that the payment was done on the orders of then Chief of Staff Kwadwo Mpiani.

Mr. Woyome, believed to be the bankroller of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), told the court presided over by Justice John Ajet-Nassam, that he pre-financed activities of the then Local Organizing Committee of the CAN 2008 chaired by OB Amoah, a former Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports.

According to him, he pre-financed the feasibility studies, environmental impact assessment and architectural drawings of facilities needed for the continental soccer tournament.

Mr. Woyome said he contracted a foreign company called PMP Legacy Company in England, to initiate feasibility studies for the entire projects of CAN 2008.

He explained that funding arrangements for the football fiesta were expected to be sourced from some barrels of oil which he said he convinced the Libyan government to support Ghana with, as plans were afoot to host the tournament.

Woyome told the court that he was refunded by the state for the money he spent on the environmental impact assessment towards the reconstruction of stadia for the Confederation of African Nations tournament.

He maintained that he went to court and secured a judgment debt against the state for services rendered by PMP Legacy – a company he said he set up in  Washington DC in the United States, Rome in Italy and other cities – to enable him to fund the Local Organizing Committee.

The accused person, who is on trial for allegedly defrauding the state to the tune of GH¢51.28 million, said these in his examination-in-chief, led by his counsel, Osafo Boabeng.

The accused spoke concerning PMP, ‘I was reimbursed after judgment was entered in my favour.’ He however, failed to state how much money he was given.

The suspect said apart from funding the LOC which had Rex Danquah as its chief operating officer at the time, he had to pay for the offices set up in the international cities with experts there who charged him per hour for their services.

He consequently tendered documents on it to the court in evidence without any objection from the prosecution. OB Amoah Factor

In addition, the accused told the court that in 2005 then Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, Osei Bonsu Amoah, wrote a letter to him on the funding of CAN 2008, claiming it was going to be an international competitive bidding and that it would be awarded on the basis of secured funding.

Woyome stated that he had a meeting with officers from the Ministry of Finance to find a way out of the situation since Ghana was a Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) country.

The accused person said OB Amoah wrote a letter to the Department of Commerce in the United States of America (USA). Lead Bank

He explained that the banks based in the US allowed Bank of Austria to be the lead bank in their attempt to get the bid to build and reconstruct the stadia for the hosting of the tournament.

The retired diplomat also said concerning the construction of the stadia that interested persons were supposed to have a source of funding by September 2005 for their offer to be accepted.

Mr. Woyome said after being informed that the bidding process was to take place within a very short time, he left Washington for Rome to try and finalize a deal to enable him to make it on time for the process to begin. He said he returned to Ghana in a few days time and had to put together documents for the process.

The trial judge adjourned the case until May 19, 2014, for Woyome to have time to continue with his evidence-in-chief.

At the last hearing, the accused said, ‘Having seen how I have been helping in infrastructural development in the country, the late Minister for Youth and Sports, Edward Osei Kwaku, called me to a meeting and asked that I should help in the funding of sports.’

Woyome fumbled in his evidence, prompting the trial judge to adjourn the case for his lawyers to have a conference with him – as the evidence was not sequential but ‘jumbled up’.

By Fidelia Achama

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