But Leaves Citizens Confused Again On Supreme Court Directive….
The Appeals Court, has shamed the New Patriotic Party (NPP), its flagbearer, Nana Akufo-Addo, Kweku Baako; a journalist overwhelmingly sympathetic to the course of the NPP, by dismissing an appeal filed by the Attorney General, challenging the High Court judgment that discharged businessman, Alfred Woyome, of any criminal offence in the GH¢51 million judgment debt payment case.
The ruling, comes about a year after the Accra High Court, presided by Justice John Ajet-Nasam, acquitted and discharged Alfred Woyome of charges of defrauding the state by false pretense, and willfully causing financial loss to the state.
Whilst, the NPP, its supporters and indeed, Akufo-Addo; a lawyer, have since 2011, made the Woyome case their biggest campaign message with the latest reference to the matter in his “Real State of the Nation Address” at the Physicians and Surgeon College in Accra, asking President John Mahama, why he did not showcase Mr. Woyome, who according to him, illegally obtained GH¢51 million from the nation.
On his part, Kweku Baako, had several times suggested in his media commentaries, especially on Peace FM that Alfred Woyome, bribed Justice Ajet-Nasam, to commit a judicial chicanery.
The New Crusading Guide newspaper owner, had also mentioned on live radio that, he and Anas Aremeyaw Anas, were tracking the purchase and shipment of a fresh vehicle, apparently delivered to Justice Ajet-Nasam, through the Tema Habour before or immediately after his verdict on the Woyome case.
Many months after the Woyome case, Justice Ajet-Nasam, was captured on a secret video allegedly collecting bribe from someone believed to be Anas, thus feeding into Mr. Baako’s speculation that, he is amenable to the influence.
But yesterday, a three-member Appeals Court panel, chaired by Justice Victor Ofoe, unanimously upheld Justice Ajet-Nassam’s judgment that, the prosecution team did a shoddy work on the criminal case.
The three Court of Appeal judges, were of the view that, the Attorney General’s evidence was not strong enough to prove that Alfred Woyome, defrauded the state in anyway and that the trial judge, did not err, meaning he was not influenced by an external forces with a car, money or government pressure either.
In the meantime, Ghanaians, are still confused as to the status of the Supreme Court directive at the instance of the ex-Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Martin Amidu that, Alfred Woyome, should refund the GH¢51 million.
Mr. Amidu, had gone to the Supreme Court as a private citizen to file a civil suit and managed to secure a judgement for the state to retrieve the millions of cedis, illegally paid to Waterville.
The judges, however, stayed a verdict on the Woyome case Amidu brought before them, because the matter was pending before the High Court. He later went on a review and had the court rule in his favour. Woyome, was asked to refund the 51 million cedis to the state.
Justice Victor Ofoe’s three-member panel, dismissed the State’s appeal over Criminal charges proffered against Mr. Woyome, stating that State Prosecutors, have failed to establish their allegations of fraud against the businessman.
The Appeals Court judges, were also of the opinion that, all the grounds upon which state prosecutors are accusing Mr. Woyome of causing financial loss to the State, fails before them.
The judges added that, the claim by the State that, Mr. Woyome, did not have a contract with the government of Ghana wasn’t substantial in finding the accused person guilty.
The Attorney-General’s Department, on March 13, 2015, filed a notice of appeal to overturn the High Court’s exoneration of Woyome. It said the judge erred in law when he stated that the prosecution had woefully failed to establish a case against the accused when a prima facie case had been established against him.
Alfred Woyome was paid ¢51 million for helping Ghana raise funds to construct stadia for purposes of hosting the CAN 2008.
However, an Auditor General’s report released in 2010, said the amount was paid illegally to the NDC financier.
The report triggered nationwide controversy with critics accusing government of misappropriating funds.
Officials of the NPP, who were in government during the CAN 2008 tournament said, Woyome did no work to be paid that whopping sum of money.
The then Attorney General, Joe Ghartey, said Woyome was contracted to help in raising money for the construction works, but he failed to meet the deadline.
He said, the NPP government had no choice than to abrogate the contract with Woyome.
When the NPP left office in 2009, Alfred Woyome, proceeded to court claiming his contract was illegally terminated and was demanding a judgment debt well over 72 million cedis.
The government, failed to defend the state. Rather the then Attorney General under the late Mills administration, Betty Mould Iddrisu, is said to have negotiated with Woyome for him to reduce his demand on government.
He did, and requested for 51 million cedis, instead.
The government went to court with a consent judgement. The court accepted and asked the AG to pay in three tranches of 17 million cedis to the plaintiff. The court was, however, emphatic that only the first tranche be paid until after the trial.
The court again asked Woyome to present an undertaking that in the event he loses, he would refund the first tranche of 17 million cedis, but if he wins the state will pay the two other tranches left.
Betty Mould Iddrisu, however, decided to pay all the three tranches.
Her Deputy, Ebo Barton Oduro, later publicly defended the payment to Woyome.
In 2010, Martin Amidu, was appointed Attorney General to replace Betty Mould Iddrisu, who was sent to the Education Ministry.
That appointment and revelations in the 2010 Audit report, changed the dynamics of the Woyome scandal.
Amidu had Woyome arrested and charged for causing financial loss to the state. Two others, including Nerquaye Tetteh, the chief state attorney, were also arrested.
Whilst prosecuting the case, Martin Amidu, was sacked from government under mysterious circumstances with Marietta Brew Hammond, appointed to take his place.