Price water house Coopers (PwC), receivers of the assets and liabilities of the defunct UT Bank, are investigating the properties of businessman, Mr Alfred Agbesi Woyome.
According to a partner of the PwC, the businessman owed then UT Bank more than GH¢9 million and was currently in default of monthly installments.
Answering questions under cross-examination from a Deputy Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, the witness, a partner of PwC, Mr Eric Nipah, told the Supreme Court that he could not recall the exact amount Mr Woyome owed the bank.
The state is seeking to prove that the PwC and Mr Woyome were colluding to prevent the sale of two mansions belonging to Mr Woyome to offset part of a GHC47.2 million he owed the state following a July 2014 Supreme Court order directing him to refund the money paid to him through a judgment debt.
Mr Dame pulled out documents to make a case that there was no transfer of titles of the two properties to the defunct UT Bank.
He said the documents showed Mr Woyome was still the owner of the properties, but Mr Nipah sought to explain to the court that the processes for the transfer had commenced.
According to the witness, there was commencement of transfer of title and commencement of registration of title of the two properties, respectively, but the deputy attorney general said that did not constitute a valid transfer of title.
The witness explained that the transfer of title could not be completed on account of receivership.
Mr Dame told the witness he had not been truthful to the court with his evidence because it was clear PwC and Mr Woyome had colluded to deny the state the opportunity to sell the properties in dispute.
But the witness disagreed and indicated that PwC was doing all it could to retrieve the money.
The deputy attorney general then asked him if Mr Woyome was still in possession of the properties, to which Mr Nipah answered in the negative.
According to Mr Nipah, the properties were vacant when the PwC took over the receivership of then UT Bank on August 14, 2017.
He told the court that the keys to both properties were at the headquarters of then UT Bank.
The UT Bank, in April 2016, claimed ownership of the properties when the state attempted to auction them to defray the GH¢51.2 million the businessman owed the state.
The businessman has so far paid GHc4 million.
The Manet Towers branch of then UT Bank claimed two residential properties at Trasacco in Accra.
Lawyers for then UT Bank, Manet Towers, Airport City, Archer, Archer, and Co., filed a notice of claim at the High Court for the properties and served notice on the Attorney General’s Department.
The effect of the claims was that the state could not sell those properties until it was proved that the bank’s claim was false.
The Supreme Court, on July 29, 2014, ordered Woyome to refund GH¢51.2 million to the state on the grounds that he got the money out of unconstitutional and invalid contracts between the state and Waterville Holdings Limited in 2006 for the construction of stadia for CAN 2008.
Woyome went to the International Court of Arbitration to contest the court’s decision, after reneging on his promise to the Supreme Court to pay the money by the end of December 2015.
On March 1, 2016, Woyome prayed the court to give him three years to pay back the money, but the court declined to grant his wish.
The court had, in the 2014 review decision, held that the contracts upon which Woyome made and received the claim were in contravention of Article 181 (5) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, which requires such contracts to be laid before and approved by Parliament.
The 11-member court was ruling on a review application filed by a former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr Martin Amidu, who brought the initial action praying the court to order Woyome to pay the money.
Story: Kofi OWUSU TAWIAH
Writer’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org