Fireworks Over Woyome GH¢51m Cash
Alfred Agbesi Woyome
There were fireworks at the Supreme Court yesterday when the infamous Alfred Agbesi Woyome case came up for hearing.
This came about as there were strong indications that the Attorney General was giving up on recouping the GH¢51.2 judgement debt fraudulently paid to Woyome, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) financier, as judgement debt.
The Attorney General (AG), Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, represented by her deputy, Dominic Aryine, challenged former Attorney General Martin Amidu's locus in going after the money given to the NDC financier, saying that he (Amidu) was violating the Constitution by coming to court to retrieve the money.
She said it was only the AG's office that is mandated by law to do so.
Martin Amidu clashed with Dominic Aryine, over who has the right to examine the NDC businessman on why he had not refunded the controversial GH¢51.2 judgement debt paid to him by the NDC government.
When the case was due for hearing, Aryine stated that Amidu aka Citizen Vigilante, does not have the locus to mount the instant action.
He said although the former Attorney General (Amidu) was the plaintiff in whose favour the judgement was delivered as a public interest case, Amidu could not enforce the judgement of the court.
He explained that the said money was public fund and that the action by Amidu was also in public interest, but the former AG, coming under Article 2 of the 1992 Constitution, cannot enforce payment of the money.
In his view, the case had resulted in a consequential order directed at the AG, adding that per the Constitution, it is only the AG that must take steps to comply with the orders of the court.
The Deputy AG explained that under Article 88 of the Constitution and the State Proceedings Act, it is only the AG that is mandated by law to take action to protect public properties.
Mr Dominic Aryine said both the Constitution and the State Proceedings Act do not support the type of application Amidu had brought before the court.
Aryine posited that Amidu does not have a personal interest in the judgement and that even if the case had been brought for the sake of personal interest, the evidence in support “does not meet the standards set.”
He said the court ought to expunge paragraphs 8 to 21 of Mr Amidu's affidavit in support of the motion because “it is scandalous, frivolous, and unsubstantiated allegation” full of hear-say evidence.
Mr Amidu had indicated in the affidavit that the Attorney General (Marietta Brew Appiah-Opong), withdrew her application to examine Woyome before the Supreme Court because President Mahama personally gave an order.
He said the AG backtracked in order to protect some National Democratic Congress officials, who benefited from the GH¢51.2 million fraudulent payout.
Amidu Returns Fire
Matters however, got worse when Aryine referred to Amidu as a lawyer with several years' standing at the Bar.
Amidu, who represented himself as the plaintiff-'lawyer' (removing his spectacles) snapped, “I am not a lawyer…I have stopped practising (as a lawyer)…”
However, it took the intervention of the sole judge Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah, to tidy the ruffled feathers of Citizen Vigilante.
Mr Amidu said whether he had an interest or not could be looked at by reading Article 2 of the Constitution in its entirety.
According to him, the order of the Supreme Court was directed at Woyome to refund the money and not to the AG.
The former AG insisted that Woyome could pay the money but had just refused to do so.
He indicated that he was the proper person to be permitted to examine Woyome insisting, “He has the means; he is just refusing to pay.”
He wondered why the AG was preventing him from examining Woyome in public.
Ken Anku, lawyer for the NDC financier, opposed the application on the grounds deposed in the affidavit.
He stated that Article 2, based on which Amidu had mounted the action, does not give him the power to do so, stressing that he does not have the “locus standing.”
Woyome's lawyer said, among other things, that the plaintiff could not position himself in any enforcement proceedings on judgement debt in the name of the state.
He was emphatic that there was no space for the motion.
Ruling on the matter is on November 15, 2016.
By Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson