Woyome scandal: Pressure mounts on Barton Odro to resign as Deputy Speaker

Pressure is mounting on the Deputy Speaker of Parliament Ebo Barton Oduro to resign his position following what critics say is his unrepentant support for Alfred Agbeshie Woyome who is standing trial for allegedly defrauding the state.

Some residents in the constituency of the Deputy Speaker say they are embarrassed to have Mr Oduro represent them in Parliament and want him to stand down.

Alfred Woyome was paid an amount of 51 million cedis in judgment debt between 2009-10 for what he claimed to be a wrongful abrogation of a contract with the Kufuor administration.

That payment triggered a huge scandal with critics accusing key government officials including the then Attorney General Mrs Betty Mould Iddrisu of colluding with the NDC financier to swindle the state.

The views of the critics were strengthened further when as Deputy Attorney-General, Mr. Barton Odro publicly supported the payment to Woyome.

Mr Barton Oduro in 2010 granted an interview to Joy News in which he categorically stated that the state had “no case” against Mr Woyome and that the payment made to him was lawful.

At the time he made the comment, his immediate boss, the A-G, Mrs Mould Iddrisu, had gone to court seeking to set aside the judgment award which entitled Mr. Woyome to the money.

The state with a new Attorney General, Martin Amidu amended that suit at the High Court, seeking to tighten the noose around the neck of the self-styled NDC financier – a position markedly different from that taken by Barton Odro.

Martin Amidu under controversial circumstances was sacked as Attorney General for alleged misconduct and could not see through with the prosecution of Woyome at the High Court.

As a concerned citizen, however, Amidu proceeded to the Supreme Court, to challenge the payment made to Woyome.

He said the payment made to Mr Woyome was illegal because he had no valid contract with the state to be paid that huge sums of money.

The Supreme Court only last week agreed with the position argued so vehemently by Amidu and ruled that Woyome should refund the monies paid to him because he illegally received the amount.

Just a day before the landmark judgement in favour of Martin Amidu, the former Deputy Attorney General, who is now the Deputy Speaker of Parliament insisted the payments to Woyome were lawful. He maintained he was clear in his mind that the state had no case against Woyome.

Speaking to Radio Central in the Central Region, Barton Odro said “if government had a bad case, I should bold enough to say that it was a bad case.

“The state had no case against Mr Woyome,” he repeated, a legal opinion he insisted he would proffer if given another opportunity.

But some residents in his constituency in Cape Coast North say their MP has bought shame upon the constituency.

Joy News’ Central Region correspondent, Richard Kojo Nyarko reported the Communications team of the New Patriotic Party as saying that Ebo Barton Odro is not fit to be their MP.

The team said it will do all it can to have the MP removed.

with the Deputy Speaker on Radio Central

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