Pressure Group OccupyGhana has expressed dismay with the decision of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Marietta Brew Appiah Oppong, to discontinue a motion in the case to retrieve the Ghc 51m judgement debt owed the state by businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome.
In a statement sent out after the news broke about government’s decision, OccupyGhana said the NDC government have never been serious about retrieving the money from Woyome because he is one of theirs and they are scared of what he might reveal about his accomplices if pursued too much.
Government’s senior lawyer filed a motion a couple of weeks ago demanding to orally examine Woyome under oath after attempts to retrieve the Ghc 51m hit a roadblock, a request that was granted.
However, Marietta Brew Appiah Oppong said in a notice of dicontinuance that government is no longer interested in pursuing the case.
“Please take notice that the 1st Defendant Judgment Creditor [Attorney General] herein has this day [26th Day of October 2016] discontinued the present application to orally examine the 3rd Defendant Judgment Debtor [Alfred Agesi Woyome] with liberty to reapply.” the motion sent to the Supreme Court read.
The decision has prompted widespread condemnation, as the motion is seen by many as the first move by government to ease off trying to retrieve the money at all, instead letting the case die a natural death whilst Woyome makes off with the money.
Woyome won a Ghc 51m judgement debt against government in 2009, claiming that he had not been paid for services rendered in a past deal. However, a later Supreme Court ruling ordered the businessman to pay back the money, although that has not happened to this day – and now it looks like it would never happen.
Read OccupyGhana’s statement on the case below…
Occupyghana® Shocked at A-G’s attempt to Let Woyome Keep Our Gh₵ 51m
OccupyGhana® is shocked, horrified, disgusted and dismayed to discover that, as we suspected and feared, there is a current attempt by the Attorney-General of the Republic of Ghana to abandon or discontinue the current recovery steps being taken to compel Alfred Woyome to disclose where his assets are and possibly how he disbursed GH₵ 51,000,000 of OUR MONEY, so that it can be returned to Ghana. We have seen a “Notice of Discontinuance” filed by the Attorney-General on 26th October 2016, “discontinuing the present application to orally examine” Woyome.
It would be recalled that on 25th October 2016, we issued a statement pointing to the refreshingly far-reaching order of the Supreme Court directed at Woyome to appear and testify on his assets. On the basis of the application moved and the order given, Woyome would be compelled by the court to make the following disclosures:
1. Whether there are any debts owing to him,
2. Whether he has any property for satisfying the judgment,
3. Whether he has any other means of satisfying the judgment, and
4. Whether he used the monies paid to him by the Republic of Ghana in any investments within or outside Ghana.
We can now reveal that we issued that statement because we had heard that after the order was obtained and served on Woyome, immense pressure was brought to bear on the Attorney-General’s Department to abandon that process. The key concern, we learnt, had to do with Woyome being compelled to disclose how he spent OUR MONEY, because the answer to that question would reveal the names of all the persons who benefitted from OUR MONEY. What we did not believe at the time was that on the very next day after our statement, the Attorney-General would so easily cave in to the pressure and abandon probably the only option left to Ghana to recover OUR MONEY from Woyome.
It is clear to us that this Government and its Attorney-General are either scared of Woyome or do not have the moral courage to pursue him for OUR MONEY. We cannot forget that this Government deliberately bungled the civil case it reluctantly filed to claim the money from Woyome, and secretly paid the money to him at a time when that case was still pending, and when the court had allowed the Government to hold on to at least two-thirds of the money. We cannot forget that but for the admirable and sacrificial vigilance and work of Mr. Martin Amidu, Woyome might never have been compelled to refund OUR MONEY. What we have seen, since that judgment, is probably the slowest, tardiest and most reluctant enforcement steps in this history of this nation. Ghanaians are now being told that the affluent Woyome, who took and splurged OUR GH₵ 51,000,000 as if it was some pocket change, is now broke, has sold all his assets and there is nothing against which we can recover OUR MONEY. This farcical and ludicrous position confirms that this Government has no interest in recovering OUR MONEY. We suspect that any attempt to trace those monies would make some persons in this Government very uncomfortable.
But if the Attorney-General thought that she had nailed this coffin and kissed OUR MONEY goodbye, she got this wrong; dead wrong. Three reasons:
First, there is no pending application for one to be discontinued. That application has been moved and granted already. What there is now is a valid and subsisting order of the Supreme Court, which cannot be discontinued by any party. Until it is set aside or vacated by the Supreme Court itself, that order remains. We expect that on 10thNovember 2016, Woyome will still show up in court. If he refuses to show up, the Supreme Court could compel his attendance.
Second, technically, Woyome is a witness of the court, having been summoned on the orders of the court. Thus, even if the Attorney-General refuses to attend the 10th November 2016 proceedings to examine Woyome, the Supreme Court itself has the power to ask those relevant questions, and Woyome would be compelled to answer them and provide all the information required.
Third, and thank God, Mr. Martin Amidu is still alive and well, and is still a party to the court action. He has every right to appear in court on 10th November and seek the permission of the court to examine Woyome, whether the Attorney-General shows up or not.
While expressing our disgust at this shameful tactic, we are confident that the Supreme Court, which has proven to be the last bastion in the fight against corruption, will not let the people of this country down. Although the Supreme Court may be our last hope, we encourage all well-meaning Ghanaians to make their voices heard on this. Ultimately, we own this nation and elect leaders to serve us. When those leaders fail us, we need to speak up and compel them by the sheer force of our existence and convictions, to act. May this be another defining and watershed moment when the people of Ghana rise up, again and in unison, to demand that the right thing is done. We need OUR MONEY back. WE OWE THAT TO POSTERITY!!
Yours in the service of occupying hearts and minds for God and Country.