General News of Thursday, 23 February 2017
Former President, John Dramani Mahama, has urged President Akufo Addo’s government to pursue the controversial GHc51 million judgment debt paid businessman, Alfred Agbesi Woyome.
Mr. Mahama explained that, his administration could not retrieve the money because he could not have acted arbitrarily since Ghana operates a democratic system of governance.
The erstwhile Mahama administration received a lot of public backlash for failing to retrieve the money for the state, with many accusing them of deliberately dolling out the cash to a man who at some point financed the ruling NDC party.
But speaking on a local South Africa radio station, Power FM, the former President expressed confidence in the Akufo-Addo-led government to continue from where he stopped.
“Under an unconstitutional government, you can just lock up someone just like that, and seize all their assets; but we live in constitutional governance and democracy, and so the law must work. And the Supreme Court has given a ruling which is being enforced. Indeed, the person involved has been pressed to pay back some of the money, and I’ve heard he’s started paying back some of the money and it is our hope that this government will continue from where we left of,” he added.
Mr. Woyome was paid GHc 51 million after claiming he helped Ghana raise funds to construct stadia for the hosting of the 2008 African Cup of Nations Cup. Subsequently, the Supreme Court in 2014 ordered Mr. Woyome to pay back the money, after Mr. Martin Amidu, a private individual and a former Attorney General, challenged the legality of the payment.
However, several years on, the state is yet to retrieve the money. This was after Mr. Woyome even won the suit by the state that sort to imprison him for fraud.
Mr. Mahama insisted that, his government did its best in pursuing the case. “The Supreme has given a ruling, the lower courts have given a different ruling, the person involved is fighting the case at different levels of the court system. But the Attorney General, who left, has pursued this matter diligently and done her best in the legal means to try and protect the interest of the Ghanaian people.”
He also used the opportunity to answer critics who accused him of not showing the willpower in retrieving the money for the state saying that “we cannot be lovers of good governance but also be desirous of arbitrary justice.”
Mahama to deliver keynote address at ALM
Mahama is expected to deliver the keynote address at the African Leadership Magazine (ALM) Person of the Year 2016 Awards Programme in Johannesburg, today, Thursday.
He will be speaking on the theme: “How can Africa win the progress race?” The former President is expected to be decorated with the African Political Leader of the Year Award for his contributions towards deepening and enriching Ghana’s democracy and his contributions in Africa.