Woyome’s fate to be decided today in scandalous judgement debt payment

The Accra High Court is set to deliver judgment in the case of Alfred Agbesi Woyome, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) financier, charged with causing financial loss to the state to the tune of GHȻ51.28 million.

Woyome is facing an additional charge of defrauding by false pretences and has maintained that the judgment debt he obtained was in relation to financial engineering role he played for the Government of Ghana through Bank of Austria, which government failed to approve, even though no money was paid by the Austrian bank.

The judge is expected to, among other issues, decide whether or not the act of going through a bidding process being approved by the Central Tender Review Board without being given a letter to that effect amounts to a breach of which would warrant payment of the gargantuan GHȻ51.28 million.

The Case So Far
The state called eight wit­nesses, notably former Deputy Minister of Finance, Kwaku Agyemang Manu and staff of the Ministry of Finance and Eco­nomic Planning as well as the former Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, Yaw Osafo-Maafo.

The first witness in the case was Ms Mangowa Ghunney, legal adviser of the Ministry of Finance Economic Planning (MOFEP), who testified that she did not make any recommendation for Woyome to be paid and noted that she realised that he (Woyome) had no contract with the state to merit being paid the said amount. .

All the other witnesses concurred that the NDC bankroller had no contracts with the government of Ghana.

For instance, Yaw Osafo-Maafo said Woyome had no binding contract with the then government, adding that even though there was a bidding process for the construction and rehabilitation of stadia towards the Confederation of African Nations (CAN) 2008, it was truncated.

He said, “We didn’t reach that far and had not written to anybody to say they had won a contract,” a statement which Woyome later admitted in his evidence but insisted that he had been informed about it, even though he was not given the approval letter by the tender board.

Mr Kwaku Agyemang Manu, in his evidence, stated that he was not aware of any arrangements by the government that Woyome should go to Bank of Austria and seek for funds for the rehabilitation and construction of stadia for CAN 2008.

The next witness, Yvonne Quansah, Head of Debt Management of MOFEP, also said no money came from Bank of Austria to the government on any stadia construction. Suleman Ahmed, the acting director at MOFEP, also testified that former Deputy Attorney-General (A-G) Ebow Barton-Oduro, now deputy speaker of Parliament was one of those who advised that Woyome should be paid.

Edward Odame Okyere, the investigator in the case, took his turn in the witness box as the last prosecution witness and said the Bank of Austria, where Woyome claimed to have received money for the construction of the stadia, had denied that it funded the construction of any stadium in Ghana.

According to him, the bank said in a written correspondence to the state through the Attor­ney- General that any letters of support given to Woyome were of no legal effect.

Betty’s Letters
The accused person in his evidence-in-chief relied heavily on letters written by the former A-G, Betty Mould-Iddrisu, to the then Finance Minister, Dr Kwabena Duffuor, urging that he (Woyome) should be paid.

Woyome tendered to the court letters in which Betty urged Duffuor to pay the money to him on grounds that what took place between him (Woy­ome) and the government amounted to a contract.

No Witness
Woyome did not bring any witness to testify on his behalf – not even the person who approved the payment, Betty, the then Attorney-General and Minister of Justice and her deputy, Ebo Barton-Oduro – who said the State had no defence in Woyome’s doggy suit against the government.

Mr Barton-Odro had defend­ed the alleged dubious payment saying the State had no evidence but was not ready to testify for Woyome.

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