Veteran journalist, Kweku Baako Jnr, is virtually preaching street justice for businessman, Alfred Woyome, after three Court of Appeal Judges last week, freed him from any criminal intent in the GH¢51million Judgment Debt paid him by government.
He charged, “nobody and I tell you nobody and I am sorry to say this, this is blasphemous, not even God can convince me that the testimony that the testimony…put forward did not undermine and destabilize Woyome’s defence” obviously putting street law ahead of legal technicalities strongly argued by Mr. Woyome’s legal team led Lawyer Ken Anku.
Breathlessly, Mr. Baako, went after the three Court Appeal judges, saying their decision “…is making Ghana look like a banana republic which we are not. It is a vote for impunity which should not be countenanced”. Ironically, the same Mr. Baako had commended the judiciary, when elements connected to the New Patriotic Party (NPP) had been set free by the court.
For instance, he was elated when the court led by Justice Maafo Siew set free Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby in the debt-ridden Ghana@50 celebrations. He praised it as a growth of Ghana’s democracy.
Indeed, under the Kufuor’s 8-year administration, Mr. Baako, saw the imprisonments of Tsatsu Tsikata, Dan Abodakpi, Ibrahim Adam, George Sipa Yankey and Victor Selormey as justified, despite claims by the convicts that their trials and incarceration, lacked legal due process.
Again, the same man, had many times condemned ex-President Jerry Rawlings for expressing his utter disgust at certain decisions from the courts.
But Mr. Baako, argued that, there was too much information to prove that Woyome’s claim to GH¢51million was fraudulent.
“In the legal aspect I am still convinced that there is sufficient evidence before the courts, not to have come to the verdicts they came to,” Baako argued. Burdened by two cases, civil and criminal, Alfred Woyome won the one that spared him jail time – criminal prosecution.
The state failed in its second attempt to secure a conviction at the Appeals Court led by Justice Victor Ofoe, after the High Court presided over by Justice John Ajet-Nasam, freed the businessman.
Mr. Baako, had several times suggested in his media commentaries, especially on Peace FM that, Alfred Woyome, had 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 a bribe from someone believed to be Anas, thus feeding into Mr. Baako’s speculation that, hewas amenable to the influence.
The Woyome case, which has lasted for more than four years effectively, ends if the state does not pursue the case to the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Woyome is relieved. He told journalists that, he has forgiven all those who insulted and accused him of stealing.
Discussing the verdict on Joy FM’s news analysis show, Newsfile last Saturday, Kweku Baako Jnr, said the testimony of the Chairman of an Evaluation Committee for the 2008 CAN tournament, Van Lare Dosoo, “tears Woyome’s defence into shreds”.
“Nobody and I tell you nobody and I am sorry to say this, this is blasphemous, not even God can convince me that the testimony that the testimony…put forward did not undermine and destabilize Woyome’s defence”.
In his defence, Woyome, claimed payment for providing financial engineering services to bring in €1,106,470,587.00 for the funding of the construction of some stadia for the 2008 CAN tournament.
He produced letters from a bank in Austria, claiming that he would be getting funding from the bank.
But Van Lare Dosoo, during his testimony explained that, companies bidding for a contract often obtain letters of commitment from banks to show they are interested in funding the company, if it won the bid.
Van Lare Dosoo, told the High Court that, “to the best of my ability and experience” the letters are nowhere near a statement of commitment.
Bank Austria, later withdrew from the project further weakening any claim from Woyome that he had engineered funds for the construction works.
Nonetheless, Woyome, later wrote a petition demanding compensation for work done for government. The petition formed the basis for the court to enter judgment in favour of Woyome, after the state failed to challenge Woyome’s claim.
“To be honest, there was no basis for the petition for it to result in consent judgment,” Kweku Baako was dismayed.
Mr. Baako, said Ghanaians would lose faith in the judicial system, if rulings that encourage impunity emanate from the courts.
“It is making Ghana look like a banana republic, which we are not. It is a vote for impunity which should not be countenanced”.
The veteran journalist, said the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government, backed Woyome’s claim, arguing that the former NPP administration was responsible for the cancellation of his contract. Woyome, it turned out, had no contract with government.
The financial scandal, became a huge political fight as the NPP, fought back accusations from the NDC government that, Alfred Woyome, was victimised by the NPP, because of his links with the NDC.
“This whole thing would not have occurred if there hadn’t been that crude political patronage, if we had not created a certain psychological environment that sustained the perception of some people having been victimized because of their political affiliation”.
He suggested that, government faced the possibility of eating humble pie if it emerged that Woyome indeed had no case to make his claim, and hence was not victimized by the NPP government.
The then Attorney-General and Justice Minister, Betty Mould ,who paid Woyome the money, has been badly exposed as doing little to defend the state when Woyome made the claim.
Despite a second defeat dealt the state, Kweku Baako, wants the state to escalate the matter further to the Supreme Court to secure a conviction.
“I still think there is something wrong with the court of appeal judgment… they should try it a third one,” Baako encouraged.
Alfred Woyome, however, lost the civil case to a private and popular citizen, Martin Amidu. It means he would have to cough up GH¢51million – just about the same amount government invested in producing drugs locally.
Co-panelist, Deputy Finance Minister, Mona Quartey, expressed shock that a syndicate with state collaborators are collecting monies from the state for no work done.
“The last thing this nation needs is for anyone to keep GH₵51million for no work done and then to almost always tease the rest of us [for] getting away with it”.
The government official said, she “suspects strongly that [the Attorney-General] will appeal again.