WOYOME’S GH¢42M DOLE-OUT NOW A POLITICAL GAME
The GH¢42 million settlement money dished out to National Democratic Congress (NDC) bank-roller Alfred Agbesi Woyome by an Accra High Court in June 2010, has become a major political game since the story was broken by The Chronicle on Thursday.
Following the exposÃ©, and the fact that Mrs. Betty Mould Iddrisu, former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, failed to defend the suit, the case has become a political game.
On Friday, a day after The Chronicle exposÃ©, The Finder Newspaper, one of the latest addition to the newspaper industry, rooting for the National Democratic Congress, heaped the blame for the huge expenditure, and many others totaling GH¢275,917,484.25, on the Kufuor administration.
In a front-page banner under the caption: CAN 2008 DEBT IS NPP'S MESS, The Finder stated thus: 'Among the GH¢267 million judgment debts settlement recorded by the Auditor-General's Department is a GH¢41,811,480.59 incurred by the state, as a result of crass ineptitude, gross indiscipline and abuse of due process by J.A. Kufuor's regime in the award of stadia renovation and constructions, prior to the CAN 2008 hosting by Ghana.'
The paper claimed that the former president and his entire cabinet could be held liable 'for this particular debt, which was avoidable, had he not decided to subvert the rule of law in pursuit of political vindictiveness.'
In the opinion of the paper, Woyome was denied his right to the construction of the stadium because he was an NDC operative.
This assertion received a sharp rebuttal from Mr. Kennedy Agyepong, Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin North, who insists the payment of that huge amount to the NDC bankroller 'for no job done' was a travesty of justice.
'There was no job done, and no one had contracted Alfred Agbesi Woyome, as a person, to do any job for the state. I know that Woyome was fronting for a foreign company to construct one of the stadiums used for CAN 2008.
'But a quotation of $100 million stated on their bid was way beyond the ability of the state. It was no value for money. It was established that the $100 million could renovate the Ohene Djan Stadium, as well as Baba Yara, and still leave enough for the new stadia in Sekondi and Tamale,' Mr. Kennedy Agyepong said.
According to the Member of Parliament, as a result of the expensive nature of the bid from Vamed Engineering Company, which Mr. Woyome fronted for, the contract was not awarded to the company.
'As a matter of fact, no work was done for the Government of Ghana to merit any compensation,' Mr. Agyepong told The Chronicle.
He said he and his minority colleagues in Parliament would do everything within their power to ensure that the GH¢42 million was returned to the state treasury, where it rightly belongs.'
Meanwhile, The Chronicle has learned that the original bid by VAMEED Engineering Company was shot down by a Bank of Ghana Committee, headed by former Deputy Governor, Mr. Van Lare Dosoo, which was appointed by the Government of Ghana to vet all bids.
According to usually reliable Chronicle sources, the then Ministry of Education, Science and Sports informed VAMED that the government was discontinuing the tendering process as a result of the huge cost involved, and time constraint.
On August 27, 2005, Waterville Holdings Limited, which was part of the consortium, which also included Michelletti and Co. Limited, responded to the letter, and requested for negotiations to resolve what they regarded as a 'breach of process.'
Following this development, the Bank of Austria which was listed to fund the project, subsequently, declined to fund it
In his ruling on the decline by the Attorney-General's Office to defend the suit in court, His Lordship Mr. I.O. Tanko Amadu, sitting at the Commercial Division of the Accra High Court, said in connection with Suit No. RPC152/2010 thus:
'I have no doubt in my mind that Exhibit 'AG1' referred to in the affidavit of Samuel Nerquaye-Tetteh, which is said to form the basis of Defendant's new found defence to Plaintiff's claim, was in the actual or constructive possession of the Defendant/Applicant before the terms of settlement was executed, and before Exhibit 'AW1' attached to the Plaintiff/Respondent's affidavit was authorised.'
The Defendant/Applicant did not find Exhibit 'AG1' sufficiently weighty to constitute a defence to the action, and cannot purport to seek to do so now, as same will result into permitting piecemeal litigation.
'Furthermore, whereas mistake has been set out in the affidavit in support, as the ground on which Defendant/Applicant seeks to set aside the terms of settlement, no material supporting the alleged mistake has been provided,' Mr. Justice Tanko Amidu said.