General News of Friday, 13 March 2015
Businessman Alfred Woyome cannot be held in contempt of Court if he fails or refuses to refund to the State, the Ghc51.2 million judgment debt paid to him by the Government– as directed by a Court –for the alleged illegal abrogation of a contractual agreement he had with the Government in the past, Mr Yaw Oppong, a Lawyer has told Morning Starr host Kafui Dey.
Mr Woyome received the money between 2009 and 2010 during the tenure of Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu as Attorney General.
Mrs Mould-Iddrisu’s successor, Martin Amidu, who was later fired by President John Mills (late) after raising concerns about the payment which he described as “gargantuan fraud,” subsequently challenged the payment of the judgment debt at the Supreme Court.
The panel of justices ruled unanimously that the payment was unmerited since the allegedly abrogated contracts which formed the basis of Mr Woyome’s claims had no parliamentary endorsement. The Court, therefore, asked Mr Woyome to refund the money to the state.
Mr Woyome, who was on Thursday acquitted and discharged on two counts of causing financial loss to the state and defrauding the state by false pretences is yet to refund the money.
In Mr Oppong’s view, it is incumbent upon the Attorney General to make conscious efforts towards retrieving the money rather than expect Mr Woyome to voluntarily refund the Ghc51.2 million.
“Mind you, there is no duty on him in particular to just approach the judgment creditor to go and pay because the Supreme Court has held severally that there is no offence called indebtedness and so if the court makes an order for someone to pay some money and he refuses to pay, you cannot cite him for contempt,” Mr Oppong argued.