Alfred Woyome Was Paid After Consultations With Stakeholders.
The acting Chief Director of the Ministry of Justice, Mr Suleiman Ahmed, yesterday told the Fast Track High Court (Financial Division) that the money paid to the businessman, Mr Alfred Woyome, was as a result of consultations between the accused and the Attorney-General, the CAN 2008 Local Organising Committee (LOC), the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MoFEP) and the Building Industry Consultants (BIC).
That was when the chief director appeared as a prosecution witness in the case against Mr Woyome at the Fast Track High Court, presided over by Mr Justice John Ajet–Nasam.
Woyome has been charged with two counts of wilfully causing financial loss to the state and defrauding by false pretense for allegedly putting in false representation to claim GH¢51.2 million from the government through a default judgement.
He has, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges and is currently on a GH¢20 million bail.
Mr Ahmed said some time in 2009, when the Ministry of Justice and Attorney-General’s Department was in negotiations with Waterville on claims for works Waterville had done at the Baba Yara, the Ohene Djan and the El-Wak sports stadia, the accused wrote a letter to the ministry for claims on financial engineering he did to secure funds for the construction of the stadia for the CAN 2008 tournament.
Woyome, he said, was then advised to put his claims properly and support them with the necessary documentation, adding that the accused then submitted a petition outlining the basis for his claims for the financial engineering that he had undertaken to secure 1,106,470,587 Euros.
Led in evidence by Mr Matthew Amponsah, a Principal State Attorney, Mr Ahmed said the money was for the construction of some stadia towards CAN 2008, six hospitals, a wellness centre and the construction of a Cobalt 60 radiation project at the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC).
The acting chief director explained that the accused had indicated that the money was what his efforts brought and that he was entitled to 22,129,411.74 euros, the cedi equivalent of GH¢41,811,480.59, being two per cent of 1,106,470,587 euros.
He said upon receipt of the petition from Woyome, the Attorney-General convened a meeting of the stakeholders, comprising the consultants, the BIC, the MoFEP and the CAN 2008 LOC, to consider it.
Mr Ahmed noted that after consultations with the stakeholders, it was agreed that there was merit in the claims made by the accused against the government, adding that the then Attorney-General then wrote to the MoFEP for a confirmation of the advice she had been given.
The MoFEP, he said, also wrote back to the Ministry of Justice confirming that the accused had, indeed, engaged in financial engineering for 1,106,470,587 euros and that he was entitled to two per cent of it.
He said the letter from the ministry had indicated that in international best practices such transactions attracted between 0.5 and five per cent and so the two per cent was within acceptable practice.
Mr Ahmed said upon receipt of the letter from the MoFEP, the Ministry of Justice then engaged the lawyers for the accused and himself and that upon conclusion of the discussions, a formal letter was sent to the MoFEP for payment to be effected.
He said the MoFEP then wrote to the Controller and Accountant-General’s Department (CAGD) for the release of the money to the accused.
However, he said, in the course of that, some people within the MoFEP raised two issues: One, against the documentation needed to be attached for the payment of the money and, two, the proportion of payment to be paid between Woyome and Austro Invest.
Following the queries raised on the two issues, Mr Ahmed said, the MoFEP then wrote to the Attorney-General for clarifications on the issues raised.
Subsequently, he said, the MoFEP wrote back to the CAGD reversing the payment to Woyome.
The Attorney-General, he said, then wrote to the MoFEP clarifying the issues, indicating that the money be paid to Mr Woyome and Austro Invest jointly and severally, stating further that the money should be paid to Mr Woyome on behalf of Austro Invest.
During the reversal of the payment by the MoFEP, he said, the accused sent the matter to the High Court, demanding his claims.
Mr Ahmed said it was later detected that the accused did not bring 1,106,470,587 euros through the Bank of Austria to the Government of Ghana and that there had been no contract between him and the Government of Ghana.
The case was adjourned to June 13, 2013.
By Daily Graphic