Appeal Court adjourn Woyome's case
5/21/2012 7:00:13 PM -
Accra, May 21, GNA - The Appeal Court hearing the suit filed by Alfred Agbesi Woyome, a businessman, could not sit on Monday because a panel member was indisposed.
He filed a suit at the court for stay of proceedings in the judgement debt case brought by the State against him.
Woyome appealed against the Commercial Court's decision to allow the State to introduce evidence of fraud in the payment of GH¢51.2 million as judgement debt to him.
Mr Musah Ahmed, counsel for Woyome, said the suit was filed because the trial judge erred in law in granting the State permission to introduce evidence of fraud almost two years after the State had filed a suit to retrieve money paid to him (Woyome).
The State had, on July 20, 2010, filed an application claiming that an agreement it reached with Woyome regarding the payment of GH¢51.2 million was a mistake.
However, according to Woyome, the State 'went to sleep until January 16, 2012, when it filed a motion on notice for leave to amend by substitution the amended writ of summons and the accompanying amended statement of claim.'
The Commercial Division of the Fast Track High Court on February 29, 2012, granted permission to the State to introduce allegations of fraud against Woyome and awarded cost of GH¢2,000 against the State in favour of Woyome for delaying the case.
Woyome said, the State could raise the issue of fraud, but argued that it could not raise any other issue or relief, which would re-open matters concluded in the consent judgement resulting in the payment of the GH¢51.2 million to him.
He said it was, therefore, wrong in law for the court to allow the State to re-open issues, which had already been tackled in the consent judgement.
In his supporting affidavit, Woyome argued that 'in an action charging fraud, it would be a clear impropriety for the State to re-open its case.'
Meanwhile, Woyome, who was absent at court, has filed for stay of proceedings at the Commercial Court, pending the outcome of the appeal, which was expected to be heard on April 18, 2012.
He noted that in the event that his appeal succeeded, the evidence that would otherwise be led on the reliefs being sought by the State would prejudice the fair hearing of the matter at the Court of Appeal, thereby resulting in a substantial miscarriage of justice.
Woyome, who is currently standing trial at the Financial Division of the Fast Track High Court for fraud, is, accordingly, praying the Court of Appeal to stay proceedings at the Commercial Court pending the outcome of his appeal.
The Attorney General (AG) is seeking an order for the refund of the judgement debt of GH¢51,283,480.59 paid to Woyome because it was procured by fraudulent means.
Among the reliefs contained in the writ filed at the Registry of the Commercial Division of the High Court, Accra, on Monday, January 16, 2012, is a declaration that the terms of settlement filed on June 4, 2010, to the effect that Mr Woyome should be paid the sum in three equal instalments of GH¢17,094,495.53, were procured by mistake on the part of the AG and due to fraudulent misrepresentation by Woyome.
Additionally, the AG is seeking a declaration to set aside the consent judgement of the court on the grounds that Woyome had no contract with the Government, and consequently lacked a cause of action and the capacity to make the said claim in any court of competent jurisdiction.
The AG said, all the agreements between the Government and Vamed/Waterville (Waterville as an assignee of Vamed) were null, void and of no legal effect whatsoever, in accordance with Article 181 (5) of the Constitution, to have grounded any cause of action in Woyome or any claimant pursuant to such a contract.
The AG is seeking a declaration that all the processes filed and proceedings involving Woyome and the AG were null and void, because Woyome lacked the legal capacity to institute the suit, thereby rendering the consent judgement a nullity for the same reasons.
The AG, in the proposed amended statement of claim, said he had now discovered new and more documents and information from diverse sources involved in the transaction between the Government and Waterville that disclosed that the claims by Woyome were fraudulent.
In his amended statement of defence and counter-claim, Woyome averred that the letter of May 4, 2005 referred to by the AG was an election by the Government at the time not to be responsible for any expenses that would be incurred by him in the course of his financial engineering but the same did not refer to the obligation of the Government arising out of the successful completion of the financial engineering.
Woyome further denied that the negotiation of the judgement obtained by him on May 24, 2010 was arrived at by mistake on the part of the AG and that after he had obtained the judgement, he was invited by the AG to a meeting on May 27, 2010.
As a result of the meeting, an agreement was reached that the judgement debt be steeled by the payment of GH¢41,811,480.59 as the judgement debt of five million euros or its cedi equivalent.
The amount represented half of the interest awarded by the court and costs of GH¢25,000.