General News of Saturday, 2 January 2016
Five private citizens: Dauda Eric, Immanuel Ferkah, Nhyiraba Frankwise, Yusif Sulemana and Obeng Daniel, have petitioned the office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, seeking information concerning the Supreme Court’s directive that businessman Alfred Woyome and two institutions: Waterville Holdings BVI and Isofoton S.A, refund to the state, some dubious judgment debts paid them a few years ago.
Mr Woyome was paid GHS51 million after he sued the state over an alleged illegal breach of a purported contract between him and the Government. In connection with the termination of the same alleged contract, foreign construction firm, Waterville Holdings BVI, was also paid €25m.
In the Waterville case, the Supreme Court, on June 14, 2013, declared as null and void and of no operative effect, the contract between the firm and the Government of Ghana titled: “Contract for the Rehabilitation (Design, Construction, Fixtures, Fittings and Equipment) of a 40,000 Seating Capacity Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi, Ghana” entered into between the Republic of Ghana and Waterville Holdings Limited (BVI), of P.O. Box 3444, Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands on April 26, 2006.
The ruling was premised on the basis that the alleged contract, which was the ground for the payment of the judgment debt to Waterville, following its alleged illegal termination, contravened Article 181 (5) of the 1992 Constitution, which required such contracts to go to Parliament for approval. The same court ruled that Mr Woyome did not merit the GHS51 million based on similar grounds.
Mr Woyome promised to refund the money by the end of 2015. In March last year, his lead counsel, Sarfo Boabeng, told the nine-member Supreme Court panel that heard the AG’s application for the retrieval of the money that his client had already resolved to make the payment at the end of 2015.
Mr Woyome’s accounts and assets were frozen about three years ago after he was arrested and charged for causing financial loss to the State, as well as defrauding by false pretences, with regards to the payment made to him between 2009 and 2010 under Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu and Ebo Barton-Odro, as Attorney General and Deputy, respectively.
However, he was acquitted and discharged by a High Court on two counts of defrauding by false pretences and causing financial loss to the state.
According to the presiding judge, John Ajet-Nassam – who is currently one of 32 judges being investigated by the Chief Justice for corruption – the prosecutors failed to prove Mr fraudulently obtained the Ghc51.2 million.
Justice Ajet-Nassam also indicted the prosecution for failing to call Mrs Mould-Iddrisu; Mr Rex Magnus Danquah, Mr Barton-Odro, Mr Paul Asimenu, Mr Samuel Nerquaye-Tetteh and others – who had all given written opinions that Woyome was entitled to the money – as witnesses.
Subsequently, a civil suit on the same case by former Attorney General Martin Amidu, resulted in the apex court ruling that Mr Woyome, as well as Watervill, did not merit the payment for the work they allegedly did for the state ahead of Ghana’s hosting of CAN 2008, since he had not parliamentary approval for the contract that covered that endeavour.
A third case, over which some refund is due the state was between the same Mr Amidu and private Spanish firm Isofoton S.A. The same Court ruled that the firm should refund $325,472 illegally paid to it by the Government of Ghana.
In their petition to the AG and Minister of Justice, dated January 2016, in pursuant to Article 21(1)(f) of the 1992 constitution of the republic of Ghana, the five said: “We petition to beseech your office for a comprehensive and a detailed information outlining the necessary steps taken by your office in retrieving these monies and as at when these measures will be taken to chase for those monies from these entities for the good people of this country.”
Attached is the full petition: To: The Ministry of Justice And Attorney General’s department, Republic of Ghana Accra. your Ref No…..Our Ref No……… Dear sir
A PETITION FOR INFORMATION WITH RESPECT TO STEPS TAKEN BY THE MINISTRY OF JUSTICE IN RETRIEVING ILLEGALLY PAID MONIES TO ALFRED WAYOME,WATERVILLE AND ISOFOTON.
Barely two years ago, former Attorney general and minister of justice of the republic of Ghana, Martin Amidu filed a suit at the supreme court of Ghana with regards to certain dubious judgment debts that were paid to the afforementioned individual and entities captured in the caption of this petition herein.
The Supreme Court ruled in favor of citizens of this nation that indeed those monies were illegally paid to (Alfred Wayome, Waterville and Isofoton) and for that matter the current Attorney General and minister of justice should take the necessary steps to retrieve those monies.
Ghanaians including the petitioners were taken by surprised when it appeared in the media that, last year the Attorney general has filed an application for directives at the supreme court as to whether or not the Ministry of justice has the locus standi to retrieve those dubious and fraudulent payment but failed to include Waterville and Isofoton in the application for directives for which ever reason best known to the ministry.
The Apex court made it emphatically clear without any shred of equivocation that, the illegally paid monies to Mr Alfred Wayome should be refunded by the end of December 2015, Moreover we the petitioners don’t understand the reasons why the Attorney general has still yet not made an attempt to retrieve those illegally paid monies to Waterville and Isofoton in furtherance to the humongous amount of monies paid to them which has caused a deep financial loss to the state.
In pursuant to Article 21(1)(f) of the 1992 constitution of the republic of Ghana, we petition to beseech your office for a comprehensive and a detailed information outlining the necessary steps taken by your office in retrieving these monies and as at when these measures will be taken to chase for those monies from these entities for the good people of this country.
Thank You Yours faithfully Dawda Eric UEW signed ……
Immanuel Ferkah UEW NCCE, PRO signed ……..
Nhyiraba Frankwise UDS, Wa Campus signed …….
Yusif Sulemana UEW Signed………
Obeng Daniel (Barrister) UNIVERSITY OF GHANA, LEGON
This is not the first time a group has petitioned the AG’s department over the refunds. A group calling itself CitizenGhana Movement (CGM) made a similar demand in November 2015, with particular reference to the money paid to Mr Woyome.