General News of Saturday, 14 March 2015
The State will within the “next few months” start retrieving the Ghc51.2 million judgment debt paid to businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome – per a court order between 2009 and 2010 – which the Supreme Court years later unanimously determined was an unmerited and illegal payment that must be refunded to the state.
“In the next few weeks we should be entering into execution and then we already have a list of the assets and so on so definitely in the next few months we should have something to tell the people of Ghana with respect to how much we have been able to recover,” Deputy Attorney General Dr Dominic Ayineh told Samson Lardy Anyenini on Joy FM’s news analysis programme Newsfile Saturday.
Asked if the Government will be able to recover all the money, Dr Ayineh said: “We haven’t done that assessment to know how much money he has and so on.” “As far as the bank accounts are concerned, I will be honest with the people of this country to say that we don’t have Ghc51 million sitting there. That one, we have verified, we know the account, we know that we don’t have Ghc51 million sitting there,” he said.
Mr Woyome was Thursday acquitted and discharged by an Accra High Court of any wrongdoing in the payment of the money done under former Attorney General Betty Mould Iddrisu after the financier of the governing National Democratic Congress dragged the state to court over what he said at the time was an “illegal” abrogation of a contractual agreement he has entered with the Government concerning the building of some stadia in the country ahead of Ghana’s hosting of the Africa Cup of Nations.
In his ruling, Justice John Ajet-Nassam said: “And in the instant case, I am of the considered opinion that the prosecution has failed woefully to prove beyond all reasonable doubt the guilt of the accused person.”
“I, therefore, acquit and discharge Alfred Agbesi Woyome on all charges brought against him,” the court stated, and noted that it was both “sad and sweeping” for the state to hold that Woyome deliberately made false representations to the government.
“The state failed to defend the action. It rather went into settlement of the case which led to the entry of judgment. I do not see any misrepresentation made to the court,” the judge noted.
Former Attorney General Martin Amidu, who succeeded Mrs Mould-Iddrisu during the tenure of President John Mills (late), challenged the payment, even while in office, consequently incurring the wrath of the President resulting in his dismissal. Mr Amidu nonetheless dragged the matter to the Supreme Court and secured the unanimous determination by the apex Court for the money to be refunded to the state.
It has been a couple of years but the state has still not recovered the money. Dr Ayineh, however said Saturday that Ghanaians will learn of how much the state has recovered from Mr Woyome in the next few months.