Alfred Agbesi Woyome
Five concerned Ghanaians have jointly petitioned the Attorney General seeking to know what the government’s lawyer has done so far to retrieve the GH¢51.2 million fraudulently paid to NDC financier Alfred Agbesi Woyome in the infamous judgement debt scandal.
The five—Dauda Eric, Immanuel Ferkah, Nhyiraba Frankwise, Yusif Sulemana and Obeng Daniel—through their lawyers, want an up-to-date information on the Supreme Court’s directive that Mr Woyome and two institutions – Waterville Holdings BVI and Isofoton S.A – should refund to the state some dubious judgement debts paid them somewhere in 2010 or so.
In the petitioners’ letter to the AG, Marietta Brew Appiah-Opong, they said they were acting pursuant to Article 21 (1) (f) of the 1992 Constitution.
“In pursuance of Article 21(1) (f) of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, we petition to beseech your office for a comprehensive and 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,” they said.
Woyome had promised to pay the money by the end of last year, but there was no evidence suggesting that the money had been paid.
Mr Woyome was paid the staggering amount after he sued the state over an alleged illegal breach of a purported contract between him and the government; and the Attorney General at the time, Betty Mould Iddrisu and her deputy, Ebo Barton Odro, bizarrely failed to defend the state, leading to the award of the amount and in connection with the termination of the same alleged contract, foreign construction firm Waterville Holdings BVI was also paid €25million.
After a public uproar, then Attorney General Martin Amidu took steps to appeal against the award of the amount to the claimants and subsequently pursued another angle of the case in a civil suit as a private citizen, when he was no longer the A-G.
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 judgement 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 GH¢51 million based on similar grounds.
Mr Woyome subsequently promised to refund the money by the end of 2015 and in March last year, his lead counsel, Osafo Buabeng, 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 said to have been 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 regard to the payment made to him between 2009 and 2010.
However, he was acquitted and discharged by a High Court presided over by the disgraced Justice Ajet Nasam on the two counts.
Curiously, when Osafo Buabeng was contacted last week for comments in respect of the case, he sarcastically and rudely claimed that Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the 2016 flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), had paid the money for Woyome.
He said: “You go and make your enquiries, I said the man has paid for him. I mentioned Nana Akufo-Addo, I said he has paid for him.”
Osafo Buabeng curtly added: “Make your enquiries, make your enquiries. The husband of your owner is very close to him so you can make the inquiries. It should not be too difficult to make your inquiries.”
Mr Woyome’s lawyer did not know if the full amount had been paid but he was sure the NPP presidential candidate had paid the money for his client.
“…That one I would not know, but I know he (Nana Addo) has paid for him.”
Barely two years ago, former Attorney General and Minister of Justice Martin Amidu filed a suit at the Supreme Court of Ghana with regard to the dubious judgement debts that were paid to the aforementioned individual and entities captured in the caption of the current petition.
“The Supreme Court ruled in favour of citizens of this nation that indeed those monies were illegally paid to (Alfred Woyome, Waterville and Isofoton) and for that matter the current Attorney General and Minister of Justice should take the necessary steps to retrieve those monies,” the five petitioners noted.
“Ghanaians including the petitioners were taken by surprise when it appeared in the media that last year the Attorney General filed an application for directions at the Supreme Court as to whether or not the Ministry of Justice had the locus standi to retrieve those dubious and fraudulent payments but failed to include Waterville and Isofoton in the application for directions for which ever reason best known to the ministry.
“We petition to beseech your office for a comprehensive and 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,” the petitioners told the AG.
A Daily Guide Report