The advocacy group CitizenGhana Movement (CGM) has filed a suit against the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong- due to her failure to retrieve Ghc 51.2m from Woyome.
The money, the so-called judgement debt which was paid to the businessman, had been ordered retrieved by the Supreme Court since July 2014- yet the state’s coffers has not seen the money despite several promises from both quarters concerning its retrieval.
In a statement, the CGM noted that they have made enquiries from the Attorney General as to whether the money has been retrieved, which has received no response. Their independent checks show the opposite, and they also note the pertinent fact that with the wild depreciation of our cedi- every second that goes without the money being retrieved, just leads to more losses for the people of Ghana.
The CGM has therefore filed a suit at the Accra High Court against the Attorney General, seeking an order to compel the her to carry out her duty, a duty backed by a Supreme Court order, no less.
The Supreme Court on July 29, 2014- had ordered businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome to refund the Ghc 51.2m that was paid to him by the state, the infamous Judgement Debt saga.
The court, in a unanimous decision, overturned the verdict of the High Court that awarded Woyome those damages due to a contract he had signed with the government which he claimed had been reneged upon.
The court ruled those contracts, upon which the original judgement were made, as invalid and unconstitutional.
The unanimous verdict was reached by an eleven member panel, chaired by the Chief Justice herself, Georgina Theodora Wood.
The full CGM statement is produced below….
On 29th July, 2014, in a case brought by Hon. Martin Amidu, the Supreme Court made an order against Alfred Agbesi Woyome to refund GHC51.2million back to the State. Since that date, the Attorney General (AG), who has the sole and primary responsibility to enforce this order, has failed to do so. On the 30th of March, 2015, counsel for Alfred Woyome, intimated in court that his client shall liquidate the judgment debt by the end of December 2015.
On the 29th of October, 2015, CGM wrote to the AG requesting for an update on the status of the cases (both civil and criminal) against Woyome. There was no response from the AG. Consequently, CGM was compelled to do its own search and investigations to ascertain whether or not the AG had taken steps to enforce the order for refund made by the court against Woyome. The investigations revealed that no such steps had been taken.
Hence, on 24th November, 2015, CGM wrote a second letter to the AG demanding that the AG immediately moves to enforce the order and to take such lawful steps to preserve the assets of Woyome. Till date, CGM has not had any response from the AG, not even one to acknowledge receipt of the two letters.
It is disturbing to note that between July 2014 and December 2015, the value of the judgment debt of GHC51.2million had depreciated by GHC12.6 million. A continued delay in executing the judgment therefore means a continued depreciation of its value.
As citizens we are enjoined by Article 41(f) of the Constitution to protect and preserve public property and expose and combat misuse and waste of public funds and property. And it is our belief that the Attorney General carries an equal if not higher, responsibility to protect and preserve public property, which duty involves the enforcement of the judgment of the Supreme Court against Woyome.
Consequently, CGM through two of its leading members, has filed a suit at the High Court, Accra with the primary object of seeking an order from the court in the nature of a mandamus, to compel the AG to immediately go into execution of the judgment of the Supreme Court. Again, CGM wants the Court to order the AG to take such lawful steps to preserve the assets of Alfred Agbesi Woyome so that the hard won judgment of Hon Martin Amidu is not rendered a pyrrhic victory.
We therefore call on all well-meaning Ghanaians including civil society organizations to support this court action as it is in the prime interest of the general public.
God bless you and God bless Ghana.