The Court of Appeal has ordered the complete removal of conclusions on Alfred Agbesi Woyome in the Sole Commissioner’s white paper concerning the GHc 51 million judgement debt.
The Court of Appeal set aside the findings of Sole Commissioner Justice Yaw Apau, citing a breach of the principles of natural justice.
According to the court, the Commissioner failed to give Mr. Woyome a fair hearing since it moved beyond examining records of payment of the Judgement debt to assess circumstances leading to the payment.
Mr. Woyome was paid GHc 51 million after he claimed that he helped Ghana to raise funds to construct stadia for purposes of hosting the 2008 African Cup of Nations.
The court’s judgment follows a suit filed by Alfred Woyome in June 2016 where he argued that the Sole Commissioner, Justice Yaw Apau, erred in fact and law in reaching his conclusions about him.
The Sole Commission, headed by Justice Yaw Apau, was set up by former President John Mahama in October 2012 to look into the payment of all judgement debts since 1992, following the various judgement debt scandals that rocked the country.
The Commission submitted its findings to the government in May 2015, and highlighted some breaches in due process in governance systems that led to financial loss to the state.
Among its initial findings included its description as fraudulent monies paid to businessman Alfred Woyome.
Background to Woyome saga
Mr. Woyome had sued the state for a breach of contract relating to the construction of stadia for the 2008 tournament and was awarded the default judgement because the state did not put in a defence.
However, an Auditor General’s report released in 2010 said the amount was paid illegally to Mr.Woyome, who is a known National Democratic Congress financier.
He was subsequently arrested on February 3, 2011 after the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), which was commissioned by the late President John Atta Mills to investigate the matter, had cited him for wrongdoing.
Mr.Woyome was initially charged with conspiracy, defrauding by false pretence and corrupting a public officer.
He was later re-arraigned and charged with two counts of causing financial loss to the state and defrauding by false pretence.
The interim report of EOCO, which was presented to the President on February 2, 2012, also indicted Yaw Osafo Maafo, the then-Minister of Education, Youth and Sports and his deputy, Mr. O. B. Amoah.
But Mr Osafo-Maafo secured a court order which declared that EOCO’s investigation of him as illegal.
On June 5, 2012 Mr.Woyome was discharged but re-arrested and charged with two counts of causing financial loss and defrauding by false pretence.
The case unravelled until March 12, 2015, where the Fast Track High Court trying Mr. Woyome, again discharged him.
Delivering his judgment, Justice John Ajet-Nasam, said the State woefully failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Mr. Woyome was guilty.
Justice Ajet-Nasam also said there were no contradictions to the documentation evidence on the agreement for compensation claimed by the accused person.
But in 2014, the Supreme Court ordered Mr. Woyome to pay back the amount, after former Attorney General and now Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu challenged the legality of the judgment debt paid the businessman.
Following delays in retrieving the money, the 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.
But almost four years later, the amount is yet to be retrieved in full as the Akufo-Addo administration is currently examining the businessman in court.
By: Fred Djabanor/citifmonline.com/Ghana