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08.01.2012 Editorial

The President has a lot to answer for in the Woyome scandal

By Ghanaian Chronicle
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The President also alluded to the fact the huge judgment debts paid by his administration since assuming power on January 7, 2009, could be traced to the doorsteps of the previous Kufuor administration. The Chronicle can report that in 2010 alone, the Mills administration paid a whopping GH¢275,917,484.25 towards judgment debts. Certainly, there is cause for alarm, especially when it is emerging that the Government of Ghana still went ahead to pay the huge money to Mr. Woyome, in spite of obtaining a stay of execution filed by the Attorney General.

The Chronicle is unable to buy into the idea that the President of the Republic was unaware of the huge payment to Mr. Woyome, who since receiving the money has become a bankroller of the activities of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), headed by the President.

We are uncomfortable with the whole deal, and buy into the idea of a public inquiry into the scandal. We do not believe the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), which is under the Attorney-General, can investigate its boss. We smell a rat. We are unable to vouch for the President that the money was paid to Woyome at his blind side. We make this statement on the basis that a copy of the letter instructing the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning to pay the amount was copied to the Chief of Staff. For all we know, the Office of the Chief of Staff is the official Secretariat of the President. It is highly unlikely that a letter written to the Chief of Staff for the payment of such a huge sum from state coffers to a single individual, would not reach the President. If it is true that the President had no wind of the huge sum before it was paid, then what kind of administration is President Mills running? The Chronicle is in no doubt that the GH¢58 million dole-out to Mr. Woyome is a scandal threatening to blow the cover of the NDC in government. There is more to the matter than meets the eye. That is why we side with the Minority in Parliament that the enquiry into the scandal ought to involve a high-ranking Judge sitting in public in the full glare of television. We suspect that the huge money was paid to Mr. Alfred Agbesi Woyome so that he could be of financial assistance to the party in Government. We do not owe any apology for making this assertion. The whole deal is murky. We cannot and would not buy into the idea that the Attorney-General arranged to pay this huge money without the knowledge and assistance of key players in this administration.

Are we being told that the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr. Kwabena Duffour, with all his experience as former Governor of the Bank of Ghana, and one-time head of the now-re-structured Ghana Commercial Bank in London, could pay such a huge amount without subjecting it to auditing? No, we are unable to accept that all this went on at the blind side of the Presidency and Cabinet Ministers.

It is a fact that Mr. Woyome never put in a bid to construct any stadium, and was denied the right after a contract to that effect had been signed. Even if the NDC bankroller sued on behalf of Waterville or VAMED Engineering Company, the payment ought to have gone to either one or both companies. Alfred Agbesi Woyome had no contract in his personal name.

He could not have been paid such a huge sum without the connivance of the authorities that matter in the Mills administration. Prof. John Evans Atta Mills stands accused. It is in his interest and that of his government to order a proper enquiry to clear himself. EOCO, we maintain, cannot do such a job. It is way beyond their call of duty!

 

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