Accra, April 30, GNA–The Economic Crimes Court on Monday adjourned the matter involving businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome, who is at the centre of a GH¢51.28 million judgment debt payment, to June 4th, to afford the Police enough room for investigation.
Consequently, the Court presided over by Justice John Ajet Nasan upheld the prayer of prosecution “as the case has just gotten to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General for a quick study and asked for further investigation”
At the sitting today, when the case was called, State Attorney Ms Cynthia Lamptey, told the court that “the Attorney-General(A-G) has just received the dock in respect of the case from the Police and we realised that there are some issues which need further investigation to be conducted by the Police”.
Woyome, who is in the dock with three other persons; Samuel Neequaye- Tetteh, Chief State Attorney- A-G's Department, Paul Asimenu, Director of Legal Affairs, Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and Gifty Neequaye-Tetteh, wife of first accused person, are alleged to have benefited from the judgment debt paid to Woyome
Ms Lamptey told the court that, “We are directing the Police to conduct investigations so as to assist the A-G and the court in the matter that is before you.”
In this regard, “We asked for further adjournment to enable the Police complete investigations, if the court would grant us four weeks by which time they would have finished their investigation.”
But counsel for Woyome, Mr Osafo Baubeng, prayed the court to review the bail conditions of his client for reporting to the Police from twice a week to once a week.
Mr. Buabeng said: 'It is being a ritual for the accused persons to report to the Police to be looked into. We would not press for the discharge of the accused person but urged for the review of the bail conditions.'
Associating himself with this, Mr. Akoto Ampah, Counsel for the third accused person, said, “We are going through familiar grounds, since arraigned before this court, all that the Prosecution say is that, they have not finish with investigations and that it seems that the Prosecution is not in the position of the matter and the psychological measure involved.”
“We believe that given the stress for the regular adjournments, we plead that the conditions of bail terms of reporting to the Police be reviewed. We will therefore pray that the Prosecution stay to the issues for trials to begin and not abuse the process.”
But the Judge was quick to state that the court will determine what goes into procedure and would not be swayed by sentiments.
However, Mr. Ampah reminded the court of his earlier position that proceeding of the case would begin today, April 30.
Giving his ruling, Mr Justice Nasan said: “I have been urged to grant further four weeks adjournment because the A-G has asked the Police to do further investigations, of which none of the defense counsels opposed therefore further adjournment have been granted to assist the Police and adjourn the case to 4th of June 2012.
Woyome has now been granted GH 20-million cedi bail with three sureties each to be justified. He was to report to the Police twice in a week.
Woyome was earlier on granted GH 54 million cedi bail with two sureties each to be justified by the same court. He, however, could not meet the bail terms hence his lawyers filed application before the court to review his bail terms.
On February 15, the court admitted Woyome's accomplices; Neequaye-Tetteh and Asimenu to GHc6, 000 bail each with sureties each to be justified.
All accused persons are to report at the Police Headquarters twice a week - Mondays and Fridays.
The court ordered Gifty, wife of the Chief State Attorney, to be on her former bail in the sum of GH¢500,000 with a surety because it was confirmed that she was a nursing mother.
She is also to report to the Police every Wednesday and Friday
Woyome, who has been charged with conspiracy and defrauding by false pretences and corrupting a public officer, has pleaded not guilty.
Asimenu and Neequaye-Tetteh are being held for corrupting a public officer and abetment of crime, have also denied the charges.
In the case of Gifty, she also denied the charge of abetment of crime.
Ms Lamptey, who presented the facts of the case at the last sitting, said during 2009 Woyome made the then Attorney General Mrs. Betty Mould-Iddrisu to believe by stating that he had a contract with the Government of Ghana.
The contract according to the Chief State Attorney, was in relation to the construction of five sports stadia but the contract was unlawfully abrogated.
Ms Lamptey said Woyome subsequently filed a writ at the High Court claiming that he was owed GH¢41 million to which he had added interest of GH¢ 10 million.
The Chief State Attorney said the money was paid in tranches, in February 2010, GH¢17, 094,493.53 were paid.
In January and April 2011, GH¢10 million cedis each was paid respectively, while the last tranche of GHc14, 188,987.06 was paid in September 12, 2011.
Ms Lamptey said preliminary investigations showed that government did not owe Woyome.
Additionally, Neequaye-Tetteh drafted letters to the Minister of Finance concerning the payment and he refused to go to court to defend the action.
According to Ms Lamptey, it was found out that Woyome transferred GH¢400,000 to Gifty's account.
She said it was further disclosed that Asimenu wrote opinions and quoted figures and sent information which created conditions for Woyome to be paid monies which was not due him.
During investigations the four were picked up by the Police, the Chief State Attorney said.