Woyome Men Scared Me – State Attorney

Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong
Mrs Yvonne Obuobisa, the chief state attorney in the trial of Alfred Agbesi Woyome, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) financier accused of fraudulently receiving GH¢51.28 million judgment debt, yesterday complained about being intimidated by sympathisers of the accused person.

The prosecuting attorney told the Accra High Court judge, Justice Najet-Assam, that each time she was on her feet to cross-examine the accused person, she heard chuckles and noise right behind her as a way of intimidating her.

She stated, ‘My Lord, I am only doing my job but I constantly hear noise and chuckling whenever I rise on my feet. This has been going on for some time now and I have tried to ignore it.’

The attorney added that the court should protect members of the bar in the discharge of their lawful duties. The trial judge warned that anyone who was found to be doing that would be walked out of the courtroom. He would only allow a few persons among Woyome’s sympathisers into the courtroom if the practice persisted.

Under cross-examination led by Mrs Obuobisa, the businessman alleged that the contract between the Government and Shanghai Group was not signed in Ghana but in Shanghai by then Ghana Ambassador to China.

He said the bid process was in progress when the former President, John Agyekum Kufuor, left for China to meet the Shanghai Group. When the state attorney put it to him that it was not true, Woyome said he had tendered documents in court on that.

When asked who the guarantor of the over €1 billion he claimed to have financially engineered the stadia construction for the Confederation of African Cup (CAN) 2008 was, he said it was Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency.

The state attorney put it to him that it was because the process of securing the loan for the event was too lengthy that the Government did not opt for it.

Woyome in response, said the Government was given two options which, according to him, were that the loan process would be expedited or there would be bridge financing using the then Merchant Bank.

In addition, the accused person said the letter of support from the Bank of Austria was based on the condition that nobody would be awarded the contract until there was proof of funding.

He denied that the loan offer was never accepted by the Government and said Government upon receipt of the offer, never approved it till its expiry date.

When it was put to the accused that so far no document had been tendered to the effect that there had been an acceptance of the loan by the Government, Mr Woyome said there was concurrent approval by the Central Tender Review Board (CTRB).

The businessman had testified that he was informed by then Minister for Education, Youth and Sports, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, that his bid had been given concurrent approval.

He said his knowledge about the law on concurrent approval did not indicate that the board should communicate directly with him.

He was given the said approval letter which was addressed to Mr Osafo-Maafo by the board to look at, after which the state attorney put it to him that Osafo-Maafo had testified that he did not write to him about the said concurrent approval.

The accused person said the former minister had told him of the approval and that it was usually the minister who informed the one whose bid had been concurrently approved.

Woyome also admitted he had written to the then Attorney-General (A-G) about some $500 million which was outstanding, but said it was unrelated to the professional fees for the financial engineering work he did for the government.

  By Fidelia Achama

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