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Woyome ‘Begs’ For Houses

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Businessman Alfred Woyome yesterday begged the Supreme Court to set aside government’s purchase of some properties belonging to him.

He revealed that he owns land worth $15.5 million which was far in excess of the debt he owes the state.

He said this land is readily available for use in the Volta Region.

The Supreme Court in June this year directed government to purchase the businessman’s properties. This was after an auctioneer had failed to sell them.

No Buyers

Potential buyers were reportedly said to be afraid of purchasing the properties because they feel those properties may be restored to Mr Woyome in the future.

National Security Minister Albert Kan-Dapaah made this known in a letter dated March 4, 2020, and addressed to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General.

The letter made reference to the Supreme Court’s order to have the properties of Mr Woyome auctioned to settle judgment debt.

The Supreme Court in a unanimous decision in July 2019 gave the state the green light to sell two properties belonging to under fire businessman at a minimum value of GH¢11.7 million.

The residential facilities located in Kpehe and Trassaco Valley both suburbs of Accra were pegged at a minimum GH¢ 3.4 million and GH¢8.3 million respectively.

The five member panel of Justices presided over by Justice Baffoe Bonnie held that a third property which is yet to be valued must be done by the Lands Valuation Board and the report submitted to the Court by August 30.

The Court’s order paved the way for the auctioning of the properties in line with the decision by the court giving the state the permission to sell Mr. Woyome’s properties to offset part of the GH¢47 million debt owed the state.

The properties will just result in the recovery of about half the outstanding amount. Government is said to have since purchased the properties.

New Deal

But Mr Woyome who represented himself in court yesterday urged the apex court to set its decision aside.

He insisted he had been abused for years and has always wanted to bring this parcel of land to the attention of the AG. He explained that it is worth 15.5 million dollars with a lot of potential buyers. He added that the total debt he owes the state is less than 10 million dollars so the state should listen to him.

However, the panel of Justices led by Chief Justice Kwasi Anning Yeboah said the businessman had had many opportunities to sell the land. They urged him to simply sell them and pay the state what is outstanding.

The Justices indicated that the request by the businessman that it annuls the purchase is not supported by the rules of court and amounts to abuse of the court’s processes and thus dismissed the case.

Background

The Supreme Court, on July 29, 2014, ordered Mr. Woyome to refund GH¢51.2 million to the State on the grounds that he had got the money out of unconstitutional and invalid contracts between the State and Waterville Holdings Limited in 2006 for the construction of stadia for  the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations, which Ghana hosted.

The court held that the contracts upon which Mr Woyome made and received the claim were in contravention of Article 181 (5) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, which required such contracts to be laid before and approved by Parliament.

On March 1, 2016, Mr Woyome prayed the court to give him three years to pay back the money but the court declined.

Refund

He, however, refunded GH¢4 million in November 2016 and promised to pay the outstanding balance in quarterly instalments of GH¢5 million, commencing April 1, 2017.

That did not materialize after the businessman had initiated a litany of legal cases at the Supreme Court to support his case, which were all dismissed.

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