Ghana’s Supreme Court has rejected the order by the African Court of Human and People’s Rights in Tanzania, asking it to halt proceedings leading to the retrieval of the Ghc51 million judgment debt wrongfully paid to businessman Alfred Woyome.
According to the decision by a five member panel of justices, there’s no real factual and legal basis for Ghana’s Supreme Court to share its powers and jurisdiction with any other court, and so it cannot be compelled to halt the ongoing proceedings.
The African Court on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) ordered Ghana to suspend all efforts to retrieve the GH₵51.2 million, until the Court determines an appeal filed by the businessman, who argued that his human rights are being abused by Ghana’s Supreme Court.
In a unanimous ruling, the 11-member panel of the African Court, ordered Ghana to suspend the seizure of any property belonging to the businessman, “take all appropriate measures to maintain the status quo and avoid the property being sold’’ until the case was determined.
But the Ghanaian justices, after rejecting the African Court’s order, further went on to dismiss Mr. Woyome’s application for stay of proceedings pending the final outcome of the case before the African Court, describing it as one without merit.
Mr. Woyome was paid the GHc 51 million after claiming he helped Ghana raise funds to construct stadia for the hosting of the 2008 African Cup of Nations.
However, an Auditor General’s report released in 2010, held that the amount was paid illegally to him.
Subsequently, the Supreme Court in 2014 ordered Mr. Woyome to pay back the money, after Martin Amidu, a private legal practitioner challenged the legality of the payments.
Following delays in retrieving the money, Supreme Court judges unanimously granted the Attorney General clearance to execute the court’s judgment, ordering Mr. Woyome to refund the cash to the state.
There had been previous attempts to orally examine Mr. Woyome, with Mr. Amidu himself, in 2016, filing an application at the Supreme Court to find out how the businessman was going to pay back the money.
This came after the Attorney General’s office under the Mahama Administration, led by the former Minister for Justice, Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, discontinued a similar application.
In February 2017 however, Mr. Amidu withdrew his suit seeking an oral examination, explaining that the change of government and the assurance by the new Attorney General to retrieve all judgment debts wrongfully paid to individuals, had given him renewed confidence in the system.
Woyome runs to African court after ICC rejection
Alfred Agbesie Woyome proceeded to the African Human Rights Court in August 2017, when government began a valuation of his properties in an attempt to retrieve Ghc51 million wrongfully paid to him in a judgement debt.
The application at the ACHPR in August 2017, was in response to the Supreme Court’s judgement on July 29, 2014 that ordered him to pay the GH₵51.2 million on the grounds that he got the money out of unconstitutional and invalid contracts between the state and Waterville Holdings Limited in 2006 for the construction of stadia for CAN 2008.
This was after a similar case he filed at the International Chamber of Commerce had been dismissed.
He alleged in his application that Ghana did not respect the terms of the agreement that governed the financial engineering role he played in the transaction, and as such his rights and freedoms recognized under the ACHPR Charter had been violated.
He prayed the ACHPR to halt all processes seeking to execute the Supreme Court’s July 29, 2014 judgement, until his case was determined by the ACHPR.