THE ATTORNEY General and Minister of Justice, Martin Amidu yesterday described as fraudulent, the amount of GH¢51, 283,480.59 (¢510billion) paid as judgment debt to Alfred Agbesi Woyome, the embattled self-styled National Democratic Congress (NDC) financier.
The Attorney General, in a bold decision as contained in an amendment writ filed in an Accra Commercial Court to challenge the payment of the over GH¢51million to Woyome, said the NDC bankroller deliberately defrauded the state with his claim, knowing fully well that he had no contract with the state.
He said what Woyome relied on as a contract could not hold because the document had a caveat disclaiming any obligations from the state.
'The plaintiff herein subsequent to the terms of settlement got
information that the terms of settlement had been procured by fraudulent misrepresentation by the defendant (Woyome) and mistake by the plaintiff herein because the then Government, per a letter dated 4th May 2005, signed by a Deputy Finance Minister Mr. Kwaku Agyeman Manu, had stated that the Government did not take responsibility and was not liable for any transaction entered into by the defendant and that the defendant's role in the transaction did not create any legal relations with the Government of Ghana whatsoever,' Mr. Amidu stated.
Accordingly, the Attorney General prayed the court to make an order for the refund of the money which he said was mistakenly paid to Woyome in several instalments.
Mr Amidu was in court yesterday to pray for more time to study new developments in the case after informing the court presided by Justice Barbara Ackah Ayensu that he had filed the amendment statement to his earlier writ and claims that sought to challenge the payment made to Woyome.
Woyome Lawyer's Protests
The Attorney-General, accompanying his amendment writ with a motion of leave of court to enable him amend his earlier writ, filed the motion.
Robertson Kpatsah, counsel for Woyome, was unhappy with the new development and prayed the court to award cost against the A-G for delaying the processes.
Counsel said he had come to court with the expectation of starting the case only to be greeted with this new development.
However, Justice Ackah Ayensu declined to do so and adjourned the case to February 14.
The A-G, in the amended writ, said there was enough evidence to show that Woyome deceived the Attorney-General to authorize payment for the money he was claiming when indeed he knew that the government of Ghana was not liable to pay the said sum to him.
'Plaintiff has now discovered new and more documents and information from diverse sources involved in the transaction between Government of Ghana and Waterville that discloses that the claims by the Defendant (Woyome) were fraudulent,' the A-G stated in the writ.
The court had awarded the GH¢51, 283,480.59 to Woyome for breach of contract in the renovation of three stadia in Accra and Kumasi for the 2008 African Cup of Nations tournament which Ghana hosted.
This was after the AG, under Betty Mould-Iddrisu, had admitted that Woyome deserved the said amount.
Mr. Amidu said although Woyome knew the contents and the disclaimer in the letter given by Mr Agyeman Manu, when there was a change of government, he purposely and fraudulently misrepresented to the AG that he was entitled to his claim.
According to the Attorney General, Woyome had colluded with Waterville, a company registered and resident in the United Kingdom, to write to his office supporting the claims when they both knew that he (Woyome) did not have any claims against the government.
The A-G said based on the misrepresentations by Woyome, government accepted liability to pay the claim of 2% for financial engineering for breach of contract in the renovation of the three stadia in Accra and Kumasi for the hosting of the 2008 African Cup of Nations tournament.
Following this, the court presided over by Justice I.O. Tanko Amadu, awarded GH¢51million to Woyome.
The court reportedly ordered the payment of GH¢17million as first tranche to Woyome with an undertaking to repay the amount should he lose the substantive case, but the Attorney General was reported to have authorized the payment of an amount of GH¢51million in three instalments to him, flouting the order of the court.
The A-G said subsequent to the payment settlement, he discovered that the contracts dated April 26, 2006 between the government and Waterville constituted an international business transaction in accordance with Article 181 (5) of the Constitution, but they were not laid before Parliament for approval.
Mr. Amidu said 'the A-G could not have detected the fraudulent nature of misrepresentation by Woyome because the original case filed on the transaction between Vamed/Waterville was alleged by the schedule Attorney for the case to have been missing in 2006 when the then Attorney-General called for the case file and never returned it'.
He however said 'the plaintiff has 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 the defendant were fraudulent'.
The High Court, he noted, had no jurisdiction to have entertained the writ of summons and statement of claim; let alone issue all the judgments, ruling, orders and directions against the state.
In view of this, any payment made pursuant to the contracts between government and Waterville was null and void.
The A-G therefore asked the court to set aside the judgment with reliefs including 'a declaration that all agreements between the Government of Ghana and Vamed/Waterville (Waterville as an assignee of Vamed) were null, void and without effect whatsoever in accordance with Article 181(5) of the Constitution to have grounded any cause of action in the defendant or any claimant pursuant to such a contract'.
Also the A-G sought a 'declaration that the terms of settlement filed in the registry of this court on June 4, 2010 to the effect that the defendant be paid the sum of GH¢51,283,480.59 in three equal instalments of GH¢17,094,495.53 was procured by mistake.
In addition, it sought 'an order for the refund of the sum of GH¢51,283,480.59 mistakenly paid to the defendant by the plaintiff in several instalments'.
By Mary Anane