The credibility of former Attorney General Betty Mould-Iddrisu, along with that of Justice Amandu Tanko, the trial judge who caused the payment of a whopping GH¢51.2 million judgement debt to NDC bankroller Alfred Agbesi Woyome, has been brought to question.
A copy of the leaked report of Sole Commissioner Justice Yaw Apau, who was tasked to look into the payment of various judgement debts by the state, which has been stumbled upon by DAILY GUIDE, raised serious issues about the propriety and basis upon which both individuals respectively awarded and ordered the payment of the judgement debt to Alfred Woyome.
Woyome claimed that the state owed him over the refurbishment of the country’s stadia for the CAN 2008 tournament, but the Sole Commissioner rubbished the claim, indicting the trial judge for doing a shoddy job as well as the then AG, Betty Mould-Iddrisu.
The report said: ‘This Commission finds as a fact that there was no basis for the payment of the sum of over GH¢51 million to the plaintiff, Alfred Agbesi Woyome’, describing the case as ‘the most notorious of all judgement debt cases that this Commission was tasked to look into.’
This, the report said, was because ‘he was not entitled to any such payment as the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) rightly found and stated in its interim report dated February 1, 2012.’
‘The fact is that Alfred Agbesi Woyome did not demonstrate in any way in his statement of claim that he ever brought into the country, through his alleged financial engineering expertise, the sum of (â‚¬1,106, 470,587) for the construction of stadia and medical facilities in the country as he claimed in his action,’ it stated.
In view of that, the Commission also noted with emphasis that ‘he could not therefore be entitled to 2% of that amount as he deceitfully succeeded in claiming from the state.’
At best, it said, ‘the trial court should have set aside the default judgement it had wrongly entered against the state and allowed the Attorney General to defend the action as he intimated in the motion filed on 11th June, 2010.’
It was for this reason that the Commission indicted the trial judge, Amadu Tanko, now an Appeal Court judge, for his role in the scandal, indicating that ‘the failure on the part of the trial High Court judge to do so led to the wrong payment of the huge sum of over GH¢51 million to Alfred Agbesi Woyome who did not deserve it in the least.’
Going by Woyome’s own pleadings in court, the Sole Commissioner could not fathom what could have necessitated the payment to the man.
‘The question that readily comes to mind is; why would the then Attorney General, Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu, order that he (Woyome) be paid the cedi equivalent of â‚¬22,129, 501.74 for his alleged financial engineering costs alone?’
‘The Commission is minded to pose this question because Woyome, as plaintiff, had pleaded that the total value of works actually done by his company, Waterville, plus his 2% financial engineering cost, which Waterville claimed from the Government of Ghana was â‚¬32, 000,000.00 in all,’ the report indicated.
Justice Apau therefore wondered and asked rhetorically in the report: ‘So why should Woyome’s 2% be bigger than what was actually paid to his principals, Waterville, for works alleged to have been actually done before the abrogation which was â‚¬21,500,000.00?’
That, according to the Commission, was because ‘if what Woyome as plaintiff pleaded in his case against the state was true, then his so-called engineering cost of 2% which the Government of Ghana did not pay would be the balance left out of the total claim of â‚¬32,000,000.00 after paying Waterville the sum of â‚¬21,500,000.00 as the costs of actual works done before the abrogation of the contract.’
The balance, the report said, should have been â‚¬10,500,000.00 but not â‚¬22,129, 501.74 which the then Attorney General, Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu, ordered the Minister of Finance, Dr Kwabena Duffuor, to pay him (Woyome).
Still on former AG Betty Mould-Iddrisu, the commission was of the opinion that ‘in deciding to negotiate with Alfred Agbesi Woyome for the payment of the cedi equivalent of â‚¬22, 129,501.74 to him as representing 2% of an alleged financial engineering costs, (she) was ignorant about the facts of the case Woyome had pleaded in court, but nevertheless went ahead to negotiate and finally ordered for such payment to be made without any scrutiny of his claim and due diligence.’
The commission also questioned the procedure and processes for acquiring the consent judgement, insisting that due diligence on the part of the state and the trial court could have stopped the illegal payment.
‘Two days after pleadings closed, the service of the amended writ of summons, (i.e. on 6th May, 2010), the plaintiff again filed a second amended writ of summons, further amending the amended writ of summons by the addition of one more relief. This the plaintiff did without leave of the court, contrary to the rules of court, which permit only one amendment without leave before.’
It will be recalled that Betty hurriedly entered into an arrangement with Mr Woyome on how state money could be used to defray the huge fee in an agreed settlement, before Justice Tanko Amadu delivered his judgement on Friday, July 2010, less than three months after the suit had been filed on April 19, 2010.
It is on record that it was after Betty had entered into the settlement agreement with Woyome that she belatedly tried to get the court to set aside the default judgement.
Woyome has already been acquitted and discharged by an Accra High Court presided over by Justice John Ajet Nassam for defrauding the state to the tune of GH¢51.2 million.
Government is yet to release a White Paper on the Sole Commissioner’s Report.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu
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