Controversial payment of GH¢51m judgement debt Woyome ready to contest fraud allegations
Businessman, Mr. Alfred Agbesi Woyome, who is embroiled in the controversial GH¢51million consent judgement debt paid to him, yesterday, expressed his readiness to contest the allegations of fraud raised against him by the state.
He had resisted the Attorney General's assertion that its action before the Commercial Court for recovery of the monies paid him was a Constitutional issue.
According to Madam Doris Nortey, counsel for Mr. Woyome, the issue before the court was not about Vamed/Waterville and government, but rather an issue that had to do with her client, who is being accused of fraud.
Counsel, therefore, accepted to contest the issue of fraud that was raised against her client, since that was a serious issue that should have to be determined by the court.
Madam Nortey was responding to a request made by the State to the court, presided over by Justice Barbara Ackah-Yensu, to allow it to make some amendments to the suit it previously filed against Mr. Woyome.
Counsel argued that the consent judgement was a mutual issue between government and his client, and that if the state wanted to set it aside, his client's consent should be sought as well, adding that if the court allowed the other reliefs sought by the state, apart from the issue of fraud, it would amount to re-opening of the case.
The Senior State Attorney, Mr. Cecil Adadevor, had sought leave of the court to amend a writ filed by the state against Mr. Woyome.
According to the Senior State Attorney, the application filed was as a result of new issues that had come out, which needed to be brought to the court's attention.
He further argued that since the state had raised issues of fraud against the defendant, the court should allow it to particularize the fraud, in order for the respondents to have opportunity to react.
Mr. Adadevor told the court that in accordance with Article 181 (5) of the 1992 Constitution, the contract between Government and Vamed/Waterville for the renovation of stadia for the CAN 2008 football tournament in Ghana, which is an international bidding, needed to have Parliamentary approval, but the previous administration did not do it.
He has, therefore, indicated that since there was no parliamentary approval for it, the contract is null and void.
The A-G had filed an amended writ seeking an order for a refund of the judgement debt of GH¢51,283,480.59 paid to Mr. Alfred Woyome, claiming that it was procured by fraud.
The A-G is, therefore, requesting a declaration that the terms of settlement filed on June 4, 2010, asking that Mr. Woyome should be paid the sum in three equal installments of
GH¢17,094,495.53 were procured by mistake on its part, and as a result of fraudulent misrepresentation by Mr. Woyome.
Additionally, the A-G is seeking a declaration to set aside the consent judgement of the court on the grounds that Mr. 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.
According to the A-G, all the agreements between the government of Ghana 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.
More so, the A-G is seeking a declaration that all the processes filed and proceedings involving Mr. Woyome and the A-G were null and void because Mr. Woyome lacked the legal capacity to institute the suit, thereby rendering the consent judgement a nullity for the same reasons.
The A-G, in his 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 Mr. Woyome were fraudulent.
The A-G noted that on May 4, 2005, the then Deputy Minister of Finance signed a letter of introduction to Mr. Woyome, stating that the government does not bear responsibility for any liabilities that would arise from the transactions.
Subsequently, following a change in government, Mr. Woyome, knowing the contents of the letter and the disclaimer in it, knowingly and fraudulently misrepresented to the A-G that he was entitled to his claim.
The particulars of fraud alleged by the A-G, indicated that Mr. Woyome, in his misrepresentations, knew that his claim was untrue and, therefore, intended to deceive the A-G to authorise payment for the sum he claimed, when he knew that the government was not liable to pay the sum to him.
Furthermore, the A-G said it was upon those misrepresentations that the government was liable to pay the two per cent for financial engineering that it authorized payments in several installments to Mr. Woyome, adding that he colluded with Waterville to write to the A-G, misrepresenting and supporting the claims when both Mr. Woyome and Waterville knew that Mr. Woyome did not have any claims against the government.
It said some time in 2005, the government won the bid to host the African Cup of Nations football tournament (CAN 2008) and the award of the hosting rights to Ghana required that the country rehabilitated and refurbished its football stadia and other sporting facilities, including the Ohene Djan and the Baba Yara stadia.
The A-G averred that the government initiated a procurement process for the award of the contract to rehabilitate the stadia but cancelled the procurement process before it was completed.
According to the A-G, Waterville made various protests to the government on the purported abrogation of the procurement process, and in consequence of the protests, the government and Waterville entered into negotiations and settled their differences by signing a memorandum of understanding between them, dated November 30, 2005.
In that settlement, the parties agreed that the government would award the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium and El-Wak Stadium, both in Accra, on a turn-key basis to Waterville.
The A-G said that in all the transactions from the invitation to tender, the concurrent approval and purported abrogation, among others, the government dealt directly with Waterville or its accredited agent and later with Vamed and its accredited agents as assignees of the rights of Vamed.
He said the government had never entered into any contract with Mr. Woyome in any form whatsoever in respect of the stadia projects or at all and there was no contract on which Mr. Woyome could have maintained any cause of action against the government.
The A-G said subsequent to the final judgement agreed with Mr. Woyome to compromise the said judgement and that subsequent to the filing the A-G had information that the terms of settlement had been procured by mistake.
It was further the view of the A-G said, based on a letter by the then government, dated May 4, 2005 and signed by a Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr Kwaku Agyeman Manu, which stated that the government did not take responsibility and was not liable for any transaction entered into by Mr. Woyome and that his role in the transaction did not create any legal relations with the government of Ghana.
In his amended statement of defence and counter-claim, Mr. Woyome also indicated that the letter of May 4, 2005 referred to by the A-G was a choice 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 same did not refer to the obligation of the government arising out of the successful completion of the financial engineering.
Mr. 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 A-G, and that after he had obtained the judgement, he was invited by the A-G to a meeting on May 27, 2010, as a result of which an agreement was reached that the judgement debt be accepted by the payment of GH¢41,811,480.59 as the judgement debt of five million Euros, or its cedi equivalent representing half of the interest awarded by the court and costs of GH¢25,000.