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14.11.2019 General News

Supreme Court Throw Out Amidu Over Retrieval Of €47.7m Waterville Cash

By News Desk
Martin Alamisi Amidu

The Special Prosecutor (SP), Mr Martin Alamisi Amidu, has failed in his attempt to force the Attorney-General (A-G) to retrieve the €47.3 million judgement debt illegally paid by the state to Waterville Holdings (BVI) Limited.

Mr Amidu had filed an application at the Supreme Court urging the court to compel the A-G to enforce the court’s decision in 2013 for Waterville to refund the money.

It was the contention of the SP that the A-G had gone to sleep and was not making concrete efforts to enforce the judgment which had ordered Waterville to refund the money.

However, a five-member panel of the court, in a unanimous ruling yesterday, dismissed the application, describing it as incompetent.

According to the apex court, the application had no basis in law.

“This application to compel the A-G to enforce the court’s judgement is not provided for in any rules of law or procedure. It is incompetent and hereby dismissed,” the court ruled.

The five-member panel was presided over by Justice Paul Baffoe-Bonnie, with Justices Sule Gbadegbe, Anthony A. Benin, Samuel Marful-Sau and Agnes Dordzie as members.

The Supreme Court gave the ruling after it had upheld an argument by a Deputy A-G, Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, who prayed for the dismissal of Mr Amidu’s application because it was incompetent.

Proceedings were, however, not without drama, with the Special Prosecutor losing his cool and accusing the Deputy A-G of disrespecting him and inferring that he (Mr Amidu) was a liar.

“You don’t respect your seniors at the Bar. If you don’t respect seniors, don’t come to me for cooperation. You are younger than my son and a junior at the Bar,” Mr Amidu fumed.

What led to Mr Amidu’s outburst was Mr Dame’s submission to the court about what he (Mr Dame) described as a deliberate attempt by the SP to discredit the A-G.

The Deputy A-G said the SP was deliberately painting the government’s legal advisor as an entity which was not making any effort to enforce the Supreme Court’s decision for the money to be retrieved.

According to him, it was not true that the A-G was not serious about retrieving the money from Waterville, neither was it true that the A-G had refused to cooperate with Mr Amidu to retrieve the money.

He accused the SP of rather not cooperating with the A-G and also leaking information about the case to the media.

That statement did not go down well with Mr Amidu, who registered his displeasure as he addressed the court and also when he sat down.

Even after the five Justices had risen and left the court, Mr Amidu continued to register his displeasure towards the Deputy A-G.

Reasons for the dismissal
The Supreme Court held that it had no power to compel a judgement creditor, the A-G, to go after a judgement debtor, Waterville.

It said its decision in 2013 for Waterville Holdings to refund the money was coercive and enforceable and, therefore, Mr Amidu’s application would lead to the court repeating itself.

“This application will lead to a repetition of the orders made by the court in 2013,” Justice Baffoe-Bonnie said.

Justice Marful-Sau also told the SP that if he felt the A-G was not complying with the orders given by the court in 2013, he should file an application for mandamus at the High Court for the A-G to be ordered to do its duties, but not come to the Supreme Court.

No co-operation
During its first hearing of Mr Amidu’s application on October 15, 2019, the Supreme Court had directed Mr Amidu and the A-G to collaborate in order to retrieve the money.

That was after the SP had said he had concrete evidence that could enable the state to retrieve the money from Waterville Holdings.

The court, consequently, directed him to cooperate with the A-G by providing the evidence in his possession.

On that day, the court did not make a determination on the application.

During Wednesday's proceedings, Mr Amidu informed the court that he had filed his evidence on what he believed could help the A-G retrieve the money.

Mr Dame, however, said he was baffled by Mr Amidu’s decision to file the evidence in court when the court had expressly directed him to collaborate with the A-G.

According to him, he expected the SP to provide the evidence for the A-G, and that by filing it in court, Mr Amidu had made it look as though it was a statement of case supporting the application.

“If that is his position, the court should dismiss the application as incompetent,” he argued.

Mr Amidu, however, said what he had filed in court was not a statement of case but that it was in line with the cooperation directed by the court.

After some back-and-forth arguments, the court decided to rule on the application.

“It looks like you two have decided not to cooperate or we were not able to make the two of you cooperate,” Justice Gbadegbe said.

On June 14, 2013, the Supreme Court ordered Waterville Holdings to refund the €47.36 million the state paid to it because the contract between it and the state in 2006 for the construction of stadia for CAN 2008 was not approved by Parliament and was, therefore, unconstitutional and invalid.

The case which culminated in the court’s judgement was initiated by Mr Amidu, in his capacity as a private citizen.

Mr Woyome got GH¢51.2 million as the financial engineer behind the Waterville deal.

Mr Amidu also initiated a similar case which led to a similar decision by the court on July 29, 2014 for Mr Woyome to refund the GH¢51.2 million that was paid to him by the state in relation to the same contract.