General News of 2014-01-15

Two payments made to Woyome under Amidu

A prosecution witness on Tuesday told the Financial Division of the Fast Track High Court that the last two instalments of moneys paid to businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome in judgement debt were paid during the tenure of Mr. Martin Amidu a former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice.

Assistant Superintendent of Police, Mr. Odame Okyere, the investigator in the case, said another past Attorney-General, Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu, approved the payment of the first instalment of Ghc17 million.

Mr. Okyere was, however, quick to add that Mr Amidu only acted based on documents endorsed by Mrs Mould-Iddrisu.

According to him, the first instalment was paid in obedience to a judgement delivered by Mr. Justice Amadu Tanko in 2010, but could not tell under what authority the other payments were made.

Mr. Okyere was answering questions under cross examination from counsel for Woyome, Mr. Sarfo Buabeng.

He informed the court that the GH¢51.2 million consent judgement, which was awarded Woyome, was valid.

According to the witness, the consent judgement delivered by Justice Tanko was not fictitious, but insisted that the court had placed a moratorium that only GH¢17 million must be paid to Woyome until the state’s request to set aside the consent judgement had been disposed of.

Mr. Okyere said the court also directed Woyome to sign an undertaking to the effect that he would refund the money in the event the state was able to prove he made fraudulent claims.

Asked if the negotiations between the parties were done under free, frank and open manner, the witness said he could not tell.

The issue on whether or not Woyome had once said he was an alternate director of Austro-Invest also came up. Austro-Invest was to source for funding for the construction of stadia for the CAN 2008 tournament. While counsel suggested to the investigator that his client had not made such pronouncement, the witness insisted Woyome had made that claim.

Questioned if Woyome had been paid any money before the consent judgement was delivered, Mr. Okyere answered in the negative, but added that he could not tell whether or not the consent judgement had been set aside by the Commercial Court.

Mr. Okyere said he was not aware of any stakeholders meeting that approved of payment to Woyome, but insisted five bodies failed to conduct due diligence before recommending payment to Woyome.

The said bodies are the Attorney-General's office, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MoFEP), the Bank of Ghana (BoG), the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of CAN 2008 and Building Industry Consultants (BIC).

Mr. Okyere also admitted coming across a document which indicated that a sub-committee had recommended payment of two per cent of one billion euros to Woyome.

The witness also insisted that Woyome had said in his statement to the police that an amount of one billion euros was available in Ghana for the stadia project, but counsel challenged him to read the said portion from Woyome’s statement.

After reading the statement, it emerged that Woyome had rather made reference to moneys that were to be released from Bank Austria after the completion of the Sogakope and Begoro hospitals.

Mr. Ajet-Nasam from that point did not permit any question or answer on the said hospital projects with the reason that they were not subject matters before him.

The witness was made to read a cabinet memo signed by a former Minister of Education and Sports, Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, to prove claims by Woyome that Mr. Osafo-Maafo had made reference to the Vanlare Dosoo’s committee’s approval of Woyome’s financial package for the stadia project in the said memo.

However, the witness said the central tender review board had given an interim approval until Waterville was able to source for funding for the project. He also said the company could not raise the funds so the contract was abrogated.

Asked if the said abrogation was in the cabinet memo, the witness replied in the negative.

There was a back and forth disagreement between Mr Buabeng and the witness. While the witness insisted a one billion euro offer from Bank Austria had nothing to do with the Government of Ghana, Mr. Buabeng insisted it had something to do with the government because letters from the bank were addressed to the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of CAN 2008 which fell under the Ghana Football Association (GFA).

Woyome was said to have sourced the funding from Bank Austria which in turn had said its facility would not be available from September 30, 2005, if the government did not show commitment.

Hearing continues on January 22, 2014.

Source: graphic.com.gh
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