Woyome Affair: M-Powapak boss' 'secret letter' to Prez Mills
The Special Investigations Team (SIT) of The New Crusading GUIDE has intercepted a 'confidential letter' dated December 19, 2011 authored by Mr. Ray Smith, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of M-Powapak Ltd., to the President of Ghana, Professor J.E.A. Mills, concerning 'the matter of Alfred Agbesi Woyome'. (See attached for the letter.)
The letter which was accompanied by a ten (10) page 'confidential document' titled: “FACTS AND OBSERVATIONS IN THE MATTER OF ALFRED AGBESI WOYOME', accused Mr. Woyome of “generating unnecessary havoc” and being “more interested in his own misguided political ambitions than working truly in the best interest of his party”.
“Over the years I have had close relationship with the person (Woyome) and I wish to make known to you (President Mills) the facts surrounding this matter since there is so much speculation and untruth being released in the public domain which is far from the best interest of your government”, indicated Mr. Smith in his letter to President Mills.
Underscoring that his (Smith's) correspondence to the President was “very strictly a personal view”, Mr. Smith nonetheless hoped that “the attached document will be of some assistance to your investigation”.
In the attached ten (10) page 'confidential document', Mr. Smith, began by explaining the rationale for his decision to assist investigations into the 'matter of Alfred Agbesi Woyome' since it was his “understanding that this is currently of interest or importance to the Government since it is a potential source of embarrassment to the party (NDC) which must be dealt with”.
“In view of the fact that I and my wife have had years of contact with Woyome I believe that I can provide useful information. I will be as brief as possible to give some insight as to the character of this person (Woyome) and also to correct issues which he obviously interpreted wrongly during his various statements in the media”, volunteered Mr. Smith.
Mr. Smith recalled how well before he and his wife met Mr. Woyome, the two of them ('the Smiths') had been instrumental in introducing an Austrian Healthcare company to provide Regional Hospitals with concessionary finance provided by the Austrian Government.
“After Parliamentary approval the supply contracts were signed in December 1999. Following this we were introduced to H.E. the President Atta Mills, at the time Vice-President, and he kindly arranged for us to present development possibilities in a meeting of the State Council. As I recall this was some 3 months before Government changed hands in 2000”, Smith took the President on a trip down memory lane.
Mr. Smith said when they (he & his wife) met Mr. Woyome in February 2001, he (Woyome) complained that he had just formed a cleaning company with a Ghanaian businessman situated at GCB-Towers, but his (Woyome's) partner had cheated on him and he (Woyome) wanted to withdraw.
“He was driving a very old car and was mostly accompanied by his brother Kobby Woyome. He obviously was embarrassed about the condition of his car and explained that he needed such a car as a disguise as his work does not permit him to drive a new car”, disclosed Mr. Smith.
He said from then onwards their relationship with Mr. Woyome developed into a friendship because he appeared to be a very genuine person with a passion to support Ghana's social and economic development.
“He gave every indication that he was a trustworthy person. On this basis we worked together very well for a long time”, added Smith.
Narrating how Mr. Woyome was appointed a Hon. Vice-Consul for Austria in Ghana, Mr. Smith indicated that his wife, Mrs. Smith who was the Hon. Consul of Austria was at the time overloaded with the volume of work to be done and in the year 2004 it was recognised that a Hon. Vice Consul was necessary to ease the burden on her and she was requested to find a suitable person for the position of a Hon. Vice-Consul.
He explained further that because it was impossible to find a suitable Austrian National for the position of Hon. Vice Consul or a fluent German-speaker with the appropriate qualifications and characteristics, Mr. Woyome, “although not a German speaking was seen to have the right attitude towards Austrian/Ghanaian relations and therefore, provided that he could provide a suitable German-speaker, and cover his share of administrative costs, he could be considered for the position of Honorary Vice-Consul”.
Mrs. Smith, according to Mr. Smith, made such proposal which in fact was accepted by the Austrian Government. A contract was subsequently issued which Mr. Woyome accepted with all its conditions. One of the conditions which was verbally explained by a former Ambassador in Abidjan was that Mr. Woyome must share the operating costs of the Consulate with the Hon. Consul. Mr. Smith gave examples of Mr. Woyome's chronic failure to fulfil the conditions of the contract, and indicated that Mr. Woyome's claim in the media that he (Woyome) “controlled and financed” the Austrian Consulate was false.
He recalled that following his formal appointment by the Government of Austria, it was found that Mr. Woyome was advertising or projecting himself as “'H.E'. Mr. A. Woyome”, and he had even placed that inscription or designation on his name-plate on the gates of his residence at Caprice in Accra”.
“Mr. Woyome was strongly advised to remove this and desist from the title since he was not entitled to be addressed as HIS EXCELLENCY in the position of the Hon. Vice-Consul. This appeared to have no effect and rumour had it that he was parading himself as “HIS EXCELLENCY” Consul Woyome in the Volta Region where he appeared to have influence. Also upon his appointment it was made very clear to Mr. Woyome that as an Hon. Vice-Consul he must be seen to have no participation in party politics whatsoever, in accordance with his diplomatic role requirements. In hindsight it is now clear that the above were ignored by Mr. Woyome and his position was manipulated in favour of personal interests and ambitions”, underscored Mr. Smith.
The term of Mr. Woyome's appointment as Honorary Vice-Consul, Mr. Smith emphasised, “ended on November 11, 2008 and it was not renewed by the Austrian Government”.
Mr. Smith also recalled how Mr. Woyome informed them ('the Smiths') that his brother, Kobby Woyome had intentions to contest the parliamentary seat for South Tongu. He said this disclosure surprised them because in “our private opinion Kobby Woyome was entirely unsuitable to run as an MP”. However, Mr. Alfred Woyome, according to “the Smiths”, “answered that he (Alfred Woyome) could get a lot of power through the position of his brother”.
“A lot of cash was needed and listening to rumours many unpleasant things happened during the campaign”, intimated “the Smiths”.
Mr. Smith also gave an account of how during his absence from Ghana for four months in 2007, Mr. Woyome, his brother, Kobby and his (Smith's) company's book-keeper, one Eugene Gbemu had colluded to manipulate the company (M-Powapak Ltd.)'s financial records resulting in the company suffering huge financial losses.
“Alfred Woyome was faced with the evidence. To settle matters amicably and to cover his family interests he stated that he would take responsibility to replace all missing cash assets. This was in April/May 2008. These assets were later determined to be, after forensic audit, a total of GH¢245,450 (At this time the exchange rate to the USD was 1:1)”, Smith indicated in his 10-page 'Confidential Document' to President Mills.
He said it was only in November 2011 that Mr. Woyome found it necessary to redeem his pledge to replace the missing cash even though he failed to pay interest or loss of earnings that M-Powapak had suffered. He said Mr. Woyome redeemed his pledge because of the threat of legal action.
Mr. Smith said the consequence of the theft was as follows: “(a) Due to repeated promises of re-payment the accounts of M-Powapak Ltd. for 2008 were not completed, could not be; (b) If completed, the IRS would have investigated the reported shortfalls and the facts would have had to be made known; (c) With the continued non-payment all subsequent years of M-Powapak's annual accounts have not been submitted, due to carry-over; (d) Any revelation of the facts would have led to serious repercussions for both Woyomes – and, especially perhaps, brought embarrassment to the party as Alfred Woyome and Kobby Woyome are known party members”.
“THE TOP AND BOTTOM OF THE MATTER IS THAT ALFRED WOYOME, KOBBY WOYOME AND M-POWAPAK'S BOOK-KEEPER WERE COLLECTIVELY INVOLVED IN CRIMINAL ACTIVITY. ONE OF THE REASONS WHY WE WERE RELUCTANT TO TAKE THE MATTER TO COURT EARLIER WAS ANOTHER ASPECT. ALFRED WOYOME TOLD US CONSTANTLY THAT HE HAS EVERYTHING UNDER CONTROL. HE HAS HIS PEOPLE IN THE NATIONAL SECURITY, BNI, CID, THE POLICE, ETC”, revealed Mr. Smith.
He further disclosed that Mr. Woyome had also claimed that he (Woyome) had used the 'missing money' to “protect” them (the Smiths/M-Powapak) even though “he could never explain from what or of whom he had to protect us and certainly this is a fabricated story as there was no reason for such payments in our name…”
The 10-page 'Confidential Document' to President Mills also focused on the controversial GH¢51.2m judgement debt claim Mr. Woyome made against the Government of Ghana.
Mr. Smith made an interesting revelation to the effect that Mr. Woyome's personal motivation for pursuing the GH¢51.2 claim against the Government of Ghana was that in the event that their joint (Woyome & Austro-Invest Management – AIM) claim succeeded then there would be a valid case for persons in previous government (NPP Administration) to be held liable for “Loss to the State”.
“Together we were responsible for the financing of projects which in hindsight were illegally cancelled by the previous Government. This has proven, by recent events, to be admitted. Clearly there was a case to be brought against the GoG for suitable recompense. THE POSITION TAKEN BY MR. WOYOME WAS THAT, IN THE EVENT OF SUCH A CASE BEING SUCCESSFUL, THEN THERE WAS A VALID CASE OF PERSONS IN THE PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT BEING RESPONSIBLE FOR 'LOSS TO THE STATE'. AND THIS WAS THE DETERMINATION OF MR. WOYOME FOR HIS PERSONAL REASONS. Under these circumstances there was no way in which the Directors of M-Powapak, both expatriates, and one of whom being Austrian Consul, the other, Director of AIM, could possibly contemplate involvement. IT WAS THEREFORE AGREED THAT MR. WOYOME WOULD PROCEED IN HIS NAME ALONE ON THE BASIS OF GOOD FAITH, AND IN VIEW OF THIS AN AGREEMENT WAS ESTABLISHED TO SHARE FUTURE PROCEEDS IN THE RATIO 5/9 – 4/9”, articulated Smith in one of the attached documents to the main 10-page 'Confidential Document'.
He further revealed in the main 'Confidential Document' that when the court decided that their joint claim was justified they ('the Smiths') expected Mr. Woyome to fulfil the agreement Austro-Invest Management (AIM) and Mr. Woyome had signed. However, after many reminders and pressure, Mr. Woyome's Lawyer wrote to 'the Smiths' to outline some expenses that had allegedly already been made out of the total amount won by a court order.
“Apart from an enormous sum of approximately 3.9 million Ghana Cedis for lawyers' cost, an amount of Euro 2 million was for 'other expenses'. We were astonished when we read this and requested Mr. Woyome through his lawyer to explain what this amount was used for. After three weeks and numerous reminders to Mr. Koka (Woyome's Lawyer) we received another letter informing us that we are not entitled to any amount because we did nothing for the syndication and financial engineering of the projects”, lamented Mr. Smith to President Mills.
He indicated that in view of Mr. Woyome's failure to respect the agreement, they instructed their solicitor, Mr. Tony Lithur to institute legal action to compel Mr. Woyome to pay them their share of the GH¢51.2 million judgement debt, and also to claim interest as the payment for the claim was done many months ago.
“…It is time that Mr. Woyome understands that he cannot rule the world and that justice to all his doings has to be done. In regard to the CAN 2008 support, everything is well documented and is in the hands of our Lawyer, Mr. Tony Lithur”, Smith declared.
“Finally, I like to say that knowing Mr. Woyome so well it becomes very clear to us that he is prepared to use anyone and any situation to achieve his personal ambitions regardless of party policy and sensibility. If he continues on his present path he can only generate more damage than good. He is so concerned with his own glorification that he does not realise what turmoil he generates and the ammunition he provides to the opposition. Because he cannot keep his mouth shut he is far from being an asset to the present Government; only a source of unnecessary embarrassment…”, emphasised Mr. Ray Smith.