08.01.2012 General News

MILLS STANDS ACCUSED! In ¢580bn Woyome saga

08.01.2012 LISTEN
By Ghanaian Chronicle

The Minority in Parliament says President John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills and his Presidential office cannot be exonerated from blame in the events leading to the virtual dole-out of GH¢58 million, about ¢580 billion of scarce resources of state, to Mr. Alfred Agbesi Woyome, a bank-roller of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), for no work done.

'Obviously, the President knew about it and indeed authorized the payment to Woyome,' the Minority, led by its leader, Osei-Kyei Mensah-Bonso told journalists at a news conference in Accra yesterday.

The President's name and his office bring to a number of four institutions and personalities who have been fingered for condoning and abetting the payment of the scandalous settlement of two parties in court, to the NDC financier.

The Office of the Attorney-General and the then Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, Betty Mould-Iddrisu, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr. Kwabena Duffour and his office, as well as the Chief of Staff, Mr. Martey Newman are all standing accused for having a hand in the authorization of the payment of GH¢58m judgment debt to Woyome, according to the Minority in Parliament.

In December 2011, the Minority called for the immediate dismissal of Betty Mould-Iddrisu from government, for failing to do due diligence in the case that led to the award of the huge judgment debt to Mr. Woyome, but till date, that call has fallen on the deaf ears of the President.

According to the Minority, per the actions of the President in the Woyome saga, it had no option than to let Ghanaians know that the head of state was the principal architect in the authorization of the payment of GH¢58m, in dubious judgment debt payment to the NDC guru.

'We have all this while struggled to believe that the intention of the President in calling for a report or inviting EOCO to investigate this single most unfortunate event was to establish whether or not there was any contract, and whether or not there is any liability.

'We have disagreed with the modus of the President in a bid to unravel the truth in this matter. This is why we are dumbfounded by the utterances of the President before jetting out of the country, to the effect that he is not interested in embarrassing anybody, but his prime concern is about those who caused the liability in the first place.'

In the words of the Minority, through its leader in Parliament, Mr. Osei-Kyei Mensah-Bonsu: 'This is the most bizarre of all statements made in relation to the Woyome case. This is so, because there is liability on the part of the State. If there is liability, then there is a legitimate contract when the person at the centre cannot lay claim to any contract,' averred the Minority Leader.

Mr. Mensah Bonsu said it was shocking to hear the President call for investigations into the Woyome saga after being briefed on the issue by the Chief of Staff, whose office the Attorney-General used in serving the notice to the President, and copied to the office of the Finance Minister.

The Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) is currently investigation the Attorney-General and all those who played a role in the award of the GH¢58m to Woyome, at the instance of the President, but the Minority NPP Caucus sees the directive as a complete waste of time and state resources, since the EOCO, whose office is under the Attorney-General's Department cannot perform to satisfaction.

'Clearly, the EOCO is an inferior office to the Attorney-General's Office, and it is not right, administratively or legally, to ask an inferior officer to investigate a superior officer,' noted the Minority Caucus.

The law establishing EOCO, EOCO Act, 2010 (Act 804) provides that primarily 'the functions of the Office are to investigate and on the authority of Attorney-General prosecute serious offences…'

The NPP said what President Mills sought to do by involving EOCO was against the principles of natural justice and that the resort to EOCO was an attempt to cover up the case.

'Justice,' the Minority noted 'should not only be done, it should manifestly be seen to be done.'

Incensed by the utterances of the President, the Minority re-echoed their call for the constitution of a truly independent public enquiry into the matter and also demanded to know the details, number and identity of people who were awarded judgment debt in 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively.

It wondered why at a time the various sectors of the economy could not even attract the allocation of GH¢50, the government would award GH¢58m to Alfred Agbesi Woyome for no work done.

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