General News of Saturday, 14 March 2015
It has emerged that somebody within the Attorney General’s office leaked a key document to Alfred Woyome, a document which would later form part of the basis for the acquittal and discharge of the NDC financier.
It has also emerged that the Attorney General’s office failed to rely on former Attorney General Betty Mould Iddrisu, her deputy Ebo Barton Odro and other state officials who played key roles in what would become the Woyome scandal as witnesses because it feared the officers would be embarrassed in the dock.
These revelations were made by a private legal practitioner Ace Ankomah on Joy FM’s Newsfile programme Saturday during a discussion on the controversial Woyome scandal and its subsequent ruling.
According to Ace, the accused person, Alfred Woyome said to have defrauded the state of an amount of 51 million cedis tendered in a memo written by the Solicitor General to the Attorney General in which the former was advising against putting key officials involved in the scandal in the witness box because of the fear of being embarrassed.
That memo became the famous Exhibit 32 in the Woyome trial case.
Ace Ankomah did not understand how a confidential memo exchanged between the hierarchy of the AG’s office would end up in the hands of an accused person who will then use it to create loop holes in the prosecution’s case.
In criminal cases the prosecution has the responsibility to prove beyond every reasonable doubt in order to secure judgment but the defence only has to raise doubts about the facts in order to walk free.
Describing the AG’s office as a leaky one, Ace Ankomah argued that if an arsenal like that of Exhibit 32 ends up in the hands of the accused person, then it is only an opportunity handed on a silver platter for the accused to raise doubts in the minds of the judge.
Embarrassed ministers’ principle
According to Ankomah, the selective use of the “Embarrassed Ministers principle” captured so vividly in Exhibit 32 is intriguing.
He did not understand why the principle only covered Betty Mould Iddrisu, Ebo Barton Oduro, Paul Asemenu who was Legal advisor at the Finance Ministry at the time of the scandal and Nerquaye Tetteh Principal State Attorney-officials who were neck deep in the scandal- yet former government officials under the Kufuor administration- Osafo Maafo and Yaw Manu were thrown into the dock as prosecution witnesses without the benefit of that same principle.
Ace Ankomah again found it intriguing why the prosecution as part of its arguments in court said Betty Mould Iddrisu paid the money to Woyome because she was new in the ministry at the time and lacked institutional memory.
That is not the kind of information a prosecution throws into the fray if it wants a favorable verdict, he averred.
But the Deputy Attorney General Dominic Ayineh who was also on the show said the some of the comments by Ace Ankomah were misleading.
He argued even though the prosecution confessed that Betty Mould Iddrisu paid the money out of her lack of institutional memory that admission alone could not have been basis for the judge to throw away the charge of defrauding by false pretence.
Dominic Ayineh, however, admitted that the leakage of the memo is unpardonable and hinted investigation has commenced to ascertain how that leakage came about.
He also vehemently disagreed with the judge when he said that failure to haul key state officers as witnesses caused a colossal damage to the prosecution’s case.
He said assuming those state officials had died was it the case that the state was never going to secure judgment even though the prosecution had tendered solid evidence to support the charges made against Woyome.
Ayineh indicated that if Betty Mould Iddrisu, Barton Odro-officials who had gone public defending the payment to Woyome- had been invited as witnesses, the same Ghanaians criticizing the AG would turn around to ridicule the AG and accuse her of playing into the hands of Woyome to set him free.
He said the state is still interested in getting Woyome jailed as it is in retrieving the money from him.