General News of Wednesday, 6 December 2017
Deputy Attorney-General (A-G), Godfred Yeboah Dame has pledged to defy all odds to ensure that a sum of GHC51.2 million judgement debt owed the state by businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome is reclaimed.
The Deputy A-G has ‘sternly’ opposed an order from African Court on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) instructing Ghana to suspend the seizure of any property belonging to Mr Woyome.
Alfred Agbesi Woyome in August 2017, ran to the ACHPR in a move to stop the seizure of his properties as part of attempts to retrieve the said GHC51.2m that was unconstitutionally paid to him in a judgement debt.
The Tanzania based ACHPR in a unanimous ruling on November 24, 2017, by an eleven-member panel described as unfair government’s decision to auction Mr Woyome’s properties and, therefore, ordered that any attempt to do so be halted.
The Supreme Court of Ghana, however, rejected the order.
Speaking on the Good Evening Ghana show, Mr Dame said the process to make the African Court’s ruling on Mr Woyome’s case valid within the laws of Ghana are invalid and “inapplicable and, therefore, not binding on the court.”
He explained that Ghana relies largely on the 1992 Constitution and as “part of the international obligations of the state which are contained in the Constitution itself, at the heart of it is the national interest.
“Article 40 and 73 sets the national interest as a benchmark for the satisfaction by the state and its international obligations and therefore, a person cannot say that we should just have records of international laws and principles emanating therefore and ignore totally the national interest,” he said.
Alfred Agbesi Woyome was paid an amount of GHC 51.2 million for a financial engineering agreement signed with the government of Ghana for the construction of the Accra and Kumasi Sports Stadia ahead of the CAN 2008 tournament.
An Auditor General’s report released in 2010 however held that the amount was paid illegally to him.
Subsequently, the Supreme Court in 2014 ordered Mr. Woyome to pay back the money, after Martin Amidu, a private legal practitioner challenged the legality of the payments.
Following delays in retrieving the money, Supreme Court judges unanimously granted the Attorney General clearance to execute the court’s judgment, ordering Mr. Woyome to refund the cash to the state.
There had been previous attempts to orally examine Mr. Woyome, with Mr. Amidu himself, in 2016, filing an application at the Supreme Court to find out how the businessman was going to pay back the money.
This came after the Attorney General’s office under the Mahama Administration, led by the former Minister for Justice, Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, discontinued a similar application.
In February 2017 however, Mr. Amidu withdrew his suit seeking an oral examination, explaining that the change of government and the assurance by the new Attorney General to retrieve all judgment debts wrongfully paid to individuals, had given him renewed confidence in the system.