Some former appointees of the Atta Mills-led administration are said to be living in fear following last week Thursday’s ruling by the Supreme Court of Ghana, involving businessman, Alfred Agbesi Woyome versus the State, our sources at the Adabraka head office of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) have said.
An attempt by the beleaguered businessman believed to be a financier of the NDC to stop the state from retrieving an undeserving sum of GH₵51.2 million paid to him as a judgment debt hit a snag in court on Thursday, June 27, 2019.
Ghana’s apex court ordered the sale of some properties discovered by the state belonging to the embattled businessman to defray part of the GH₵51.2 million judgment debt paid him about a decade ago, since, according to the court, he [Mr Woyome] got it illegally and fraudulently.
Mr Woyome, therefore, risks losing assets worth about GH¢20 million to defray part of the debt he owes the state.
Assets to be sold include two mansions at Trassaco Estate, a house at Kpehe where he resides, an office complex of Anator Holdings, a residential building at Abelemkpe and a stone quarry in the Eastern Region, including its plants and equipment.
And since the ruling came, many Ghanaians including the Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper, Malik Kweku Baako Jnr., have urged the Akufo-Addo government to go after any former government official who played a role in the payment of the money to Mr Woyome.
This, and many other calls on government to prosecute former appointees of the late Professor John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills connected to the payment of the controversial judgment debt, have left those involved wondering what will become of them if the government decides to come after them.
And due to this, Today at the weekend gathered that a meeting was held at an office complex at East Legon, Accra, belonging to one of the accomplices in the payment saga.
According to our source, the meeting was to assemble the best legal brains in the NDC to face government in the event that it decides to pursue those believed to have aided in the payment of the money.
Chaired by another NDC financier (name withheld) who is also a close pal of the party’s flag-bearer for the 2020 election, Mr John Dramani Mahama, our sources said that those at the meeting resolved to stand by Mr Woyome in these difficult times.
From the look on their faces at the meeting, the source said, they had wished the NDC was in power.
“In fact, the beneficiaries of the money are seriously worried because now they don’t know what this NPP government will do them,” our source at the NDC head office said.
Meanwhile, Mr Woyome has expressed disappointment over his loss to the state in his case filed at the African Court on Human Rights and People’s Rights in Tanzania.
Mr Woyome applied to the Continental Court, arguing a violation of his right in relation to the case.
But, the Arusha-based court held that, “the applicant has not demonstrated or substantiated how he has been discriminated against or treated differently” under Article 2 and 3 of the Charter.
The Malawian judge, Lady Justice Tujilane Rose Chizumila, also dismissed the applicant’s request for reparations because there were no established violations.
“The issue of reparation does not arise,” she said.
”Consequently, the applicant’s prayer for reparation is dismissed,” the court said, and also decided not to award cost to any party.
Commenting on the ruling, Aide and Spokesperson for Mr Woyome, Reginald Seth Dogbe, in an interview with the media, said inasmuch as the ruling against Mr Woyome was unfortunate, “they have no option than to abide by the judgment.”
“Indeed we lost the case by 7 to 4 and it didn’t go as we expected it, as people, we understand the legal system and the rule of law we respect the outcome of today’s ruling. Our lawyers would do what is necessary. Mr Woyome is fine even though the case did not go as he wanted but there’s nothing he can do because you go to the court believing your case is strong if it didn’t go your way so be it, he can’t use the gun or anything. He understands the legal system and he respects the outcome of the ruling,” he said.
It would be recalled that, Mr Woyome in 2009 filed a claim for judgment debt for the abrogation of financial engineering services with government.
It later emerged that he did not deserve the monies despite the contrary position held by no less functionaries such as former deputy Attorney-General, Barton-Oduro, and former deputy Chief of Staff, Alex Segbefia.
The then Attorney-General, Betty Mould-Iddrisu, initially backed the payments but went back to court to protest it, arguing that she was under a mistaken belief that Woyome had a case against the state.
While these officials sat at the top of the machinery of government, there were other officials below facilitating the payments.
The then Chief State Attorney, Mr Samuel Nerquaye-Tetteh, was charged with conspiracy and corrupting a public officer.
His wife, Mrs Gifty Nerquaye-Tetteh, and the Director of the Legal Department of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Mr Paul Asimenu, were both charged with abetment of crime.
But these charges were later dropped after the state filed nolle prosequi in June 2012.
Mr Woyome’s charges, which were conspiracy, defrauding by false pretense and corrupting a public officer, were also dropped. But he was re-arrested and re-arraigned on two counts of causing financial loss to the state and defrauding by false pretence.
In 2015, he was freed by an Accra High Court after Justice Ajet-Nasam said the prosecution failed to prove its case against the accused person.
The judge was baffled that key actors in the case including former Attorney-General and her deputy, Betty Mould-Iddrisu, and Ebo Barton-Oduro respectively, were not invited to testify.
Story: Atta KWAKU BOADI
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