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07.11.2013 General News

Woyome Faces Amidu

By Daily Guide
Alfred Agbesi Woyome and Martin Alamisi Amidu
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Alfred Agbesi Woyome and Martin Alamisi Amidu

Alfred Agbesi Woyome, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) bankroller who is standing trial for fraudulently receiving GH¢51.28 million as judgment debt, appears to be yearning for a face-off with Martin Alamisi Amidu, a former Attorney General.

Mr Woyome, through his lawyer, Osafo Boabeng, yesterday prayed an Accra Fast Track High Court, Financial Division, to call Mr Amidu over a comment he was said to have passed about the suspect.

Osafo Buabeng yesterday told the court presided over by Justice John Ajet-Nassam that Mr Amidu had stated in yesterday's edition of the Daily Graphic that Woyome had defrauded the State with the aid of foreign elements and prayed the court to invite the former Attorney General to explain what he meant by that.

Alfred Agbesi Woyome and Martin Alamisi Amidu
Mr. Boabeng, who made these statements before the trial judge, noted that his client was innocent until proven guilty. He said Mr Amidu was wrong in alluding criminality to his client.

The trial judge however did not make any such order.

During the last hearing, the investigator in the case, ASP Edward Odame Okyere, told the court that Austro Invest, the company Woyome fronted for, was not registered in Ghana, just as Waterville BV, which both benefitted gargantuanly from the judgment debt which according to Mr Amidu, was nothing but pure fraud.

No €1billion Austria Loan
ASP Odame Okyere, the investigator, yesterday testified that letters of support from the Bank of Austria where Woyome claimed to have secured money for the construction of stadia for African Cup of Nations (CAN) 2008, had debunked the allegations that they had any agreement to fund any project in Ghana.

Woyome had said that the Austrian bank was providing him with a credit facility to the tune of €1billion.

He told the court that correspondence received from the bank stated that they never entered into any agreement to provide any funding for CAN 2008.

The witness, who said these when he was continuing his evidence-in-chief led by a principal state attorney, Matthew Amponsah, also observed that there was no financial flow from the bank.

The ASP Odame Okyere noted that the Bank of Austria, in its correspondence with the Attorney-General (A-G) through the Mutual Legal Assistance Programme, had said the bank stated that the documents in Woyome's possession were not binding and were of no legal effect.

He consequently tendered the letter received from the bank to the court in evidence.

Earlier, he noted that they had made enquiries after Woyome informed them that he was the alternate director of Austro-Invest and said their investigations revealed that the director of Austro-Invest was Ray Smith, who had an office at Dzorwulu.

The witness said they went there and left a message for Mr Smith to report to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Headquarters to assist in investigations, but later received a letter from the lawyers of Smith saying he was out of the jurisdiction for a surgical operation.

The police officer said the letter indicated that Mr Smith would be back to assist in investigations but that was the last time they heard from him and they could not investigate Austro-Invest.

Autro-Invest's lawyers, DAILY GUIDE learnt, are from the law firm of current Attorney General, Marietta Brew Appiah-Opong, which is LithurBrew and Co.

The police officer said the Registrar-General had informed them that it had no address so all they could do was wait for Mr Smith, who never returned, to assist with investigations.

He stated that in the course of investigations, Woyome presented to them a copy of his petition, which was the basis of his claim against the state, after which he gave other documents including the letters of support from the Bank of Austria to them.

ASP Odame Okyere explained that the police extended their investigations to Austria by way of communication in order to ascertain the authenticity of the documents given by Woyome.

He said they initially wrote to the Bank of Austria through the Interpol Unit, but the response they got was that due to banking security, the financial institution could not provide any such information and advised them to try correspondence with the bank through the Mutual Legal Assistance.

In addition, the investigator said they channelled their request through the A-G and Mrs Merley Wood received a letter from the bank dated March 30, 2012 in which the bank denied funding any project on CAN 2008 and tendered a copy of that letter in evidence.

The investigator also noted that Vamed Engineering got the tender documents for Tamale and Sekondi stadia and added that when the companies submitted their bids for procurement to begin, the Central Tender Board did their evaluation and Vamed came tops.

ASP Odame Okyere explained that the Tender Board wrote to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports for concurrent approval and around that time the tender process was terminated.

He said the projects were to be executed on a turn-key basis by Vamed but they assigned their rights and obligations to Waterville and noted that the evaluation of tender was stopped while the Waterville procurement was also halted because Waterville was not able to secure funding.

The investigator said all this while, the Ghana Government was under pressure from CAF to finish construction and rehabilitation of the stadia on time for CAN 2008.

The police officer said Waterville entered into an agreement to undertake rehabilitation and do the work which Vamed was assigned to do and Austro-Invest also submitted the project to Consar Construction and observed that Consar was to work in Kumasi while Michelleti took charge of Accra.

He said because the construction was on a turnkey basis Waterville failed to meet its obligations and the agreement was terminated; thus the contract was given to Michelletti.

The case has been adjourned to November 19, 2013.
By Fidelia Achama      

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