Court Orders Govt To Halt Sale of Woyome’s Properties
The government of Ghana has been ordered to stop all processes in relation to the sale of the properties of businessman Alfred Woyome in order to retrieve some GHS 51.2million, he owes the state.
A ruling by the 11-member panel presided over by Sylvain ORE at the African Human Rights Court on November 24 indicated that it will be unfair if government is allowed to sell the properties and the case is later ruled in favour of Mr Woyome.
“The court finds that the situation raised in the present application is of extreme gravity and urgency on the basis that should the applicant’s property be attached and sold to recover the 51, 283, 480.59 the applicant would suffer irreparable harm if the application on the merits is decided in his favour…,” parts of the ruling stated.
Mr Woyome was paid the GHS51.2 million after he sued the state over an alleged breach of a purported contract between him and the government. In connection with the termination of the same alleged contract, foreign construction firm Waterville Holdings BVI, was also paid €25 million.
In the Waterville case, the Supreme Court, on June 14, 2013, declared as null and void, and of no operative effect, the contract between the firm and the Government of Ghana titled: ‘Contract for the Rehabilitation (Design, Construction, Fixtures, Fittings and Equipment) of a 40,000 Seating Capacity Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi, Ghana’ entered into between the Republic of Ghana and Waterville Holdings Limited (BVI), of P.O. Box 3444, Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands on April 26, 2006.
The ruling was premised on the basis that the alleged contract, which was the ground for the payment of the judgment debt to Waterville, following its alleged illegal termination, contravened Article 181 (5) of the 1992 Constitution, which required such contracts to go to Parliament for approval. The same court ruled that Mr Woyome did not merit the GHS51.2 million based on similar grounds.
Mr Woyome promised to refund the money by the end of 2015. In March last year, his lead counsel, Sarfo Boabeng, told the nine-member Supreme Court panel that heard the AG’s application for the retrieval of the money that his client had already resolved to make the payment at the end of 2015.
Mr Woyome’s accounts and assets were frozen about three years ago after he was arrested and charged for causing financial loss to the state, as well as defrauding by false pretence, with regards to the payment made to him between 2009 and 2010 under Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu and Mr Ebo Barton-Odro, as Attorney General and Deputy, respectively.
However, he was acquitted and discharged by a High Court on two counts of defrauding by false pretences and causing financial loss to the state.
According to the presiding judge, John Ajet-Nasam – who is one of 34 judges being investigated by the Chief Justice for corruption and who was recently removed from the judiciary on the orders of President John Mahama after investigations regarding his bribery conduct, found him to have sullied his office – the prosecutors failed to prove Mr Woyome fraudulently obtained the GHS51.2 million.
Justice Ajet-Nasam also indicted the prosecution for failing to call Mrs Mould-Iddrisu, Mr Rex Magnus Danquah, Mr Barton-Odro, Mr Paul Asimenu, Mr Samuel Nerquaye-Tetteh and others – who had all given written opinions that Mr Woyome was entitled to the money – as witnesses.
Subsequently, a civil suit on the same case by Mr Amidu resulted in the apex court ruling that Mr Woyome, as well as Waterville, did not merit the payment for the work they allegedly did for the state ahead of Ghana’s hosting of CAN 2008, since he had not parliamentary approval for the contract that covered that endeavour.