A-G To Introduce Fresh Charge Against Woyome - Court Decides Feb 29
The Commercial Court will on February 29, 2012 decide whether or not to allow the Attorney-General (A-G) to introduce fresh allegations of fraud against businessman , who was paid GHC51.2 million in judgement d by the state.
According to the Attorney-General’s Department, Woyome obtained the judgement debt through fraudulent means and has, therefore, prayed the court to allow it to amend its writ of summons and statement of claim to include the element of fraud against Woyome.
The A-G is currently in court seeking an order for the refund of the judgement debt of GH¢51,283,480.59 paid to Woyome because it was procured by fraudulent means.
At the sitting of the Commercial Division of the High Court in Accra Wednesday, a Senior State Attorney, Mr Cecil Adadevoh, said should the request be granted, his outfit would lead evidence to prove that Woyome obtained the money through fraudulent means.
He prayed the court to allow his outfit to introduce the fresh evidence to enable Woyome to also respond to them.
Counsel for Woyome, Ms Dora Nortey, who opposed the state’s application said the judgement debt awarded to his client constituted an agreement between Woyome and the government.
She said since there was a contract between the two parties the A-G alone could not go to court to litigate without seeking the consent of Woyome.
Ms Nortey argued that the A-G was seeking to introduce which the court should not allow but in another vain urged the court to allow the A-G to lead evidence on the allegations of fraud to enable his client to respond.
Woyome was absent in court.
Among the reliefs contained in the writ filed at the Registry of the Commercial Division of the High Court, Accra, on January 16, 2012 is a declaration that the terms of settlement filed on June 4, 2010, to the effect that Mr Woyome should be paid the sum in three equal instalments of GH¢17,094,495.53, were procured by mistake on the part of the A-G and due to 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, to have grounded any cause of action in Mr Woyome or any claimant pursuant to such a contract.
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 ab initio 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.
He averred that on May 4, 2005, the then Deputy Minister of Finance signed a letter of introduction which was given to Mr Woyome which stated that the government did 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 indicated that Mr Woyome, in making his misrepresentation to the A-G, knew that his claim was untrue and, indeed, 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 authorised payments in several instalments to Mr Woyome and 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 Africa 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 turnkey basis to Waterville.
The A-G said 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 in the court or any court 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.
That, the A-G said, was 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 averred that the letter of May 4, 2005 referred to by the A-G was an election 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 the 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 the meeting, an agreement was reached that the judgement debt be steeled by the payment of GH¢41,811,480.59 as the judgement debt of five million euros or its cedi equivalent.
The amount represented half of the interest awarded by the court and costs of GH¢25,000.