Opinions Thu, 29 Dec 2011

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Dr. Hayford’s Plaint Lacks Substance

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

It is not clear exactly what he means when Dr. Ebenezer Hayford asks the following question in the caption of his article: “Can Kufuor Be Investigated For [Causing] Financial Loss To The State?” (Spyghana.com 12/26/11). The obvious answer, of course, is that any Ghanaian public official or politician, or any citizen entrusted with public responsibility, for that matter, can be investigated for whatever may be deemed by any legitimately empowered individual or institution to constitute a breach of public trust.

And so, perhaps, the more meaningful and/or germane question to ask is: “Can highly placed Ghanaian citizens like Mr. Kufuor be prosecuted for the legal crime of causing financial loss to the state? The most logical response then becomes: Well, it depends on who either calls for such investigation and/or the prosecution of former President John Agyekum-Kufuor. Then, also, an even more poignant interrogative riposte becomes: Would President John Evans Juliet Cotton be proud and bold enough to step up to the prosecutorial plate? And, of course, the correct answer is a resounding “No!”

Anyway, about the only “acceptable truth” regarding the classical pattern or category in which the “Woyome Gorgormi Scandal” falls is political vendetta. In brief, it clearly appears as if Ghana’s two major political parties are blindly and sophomorically locked in a running contest of punishing entrepreneurs whose known political suasion or alignment is envisaged to be, respectively, diametrically opposed to their own.

Consequently, in the ongoing case of Mr. Alfred Agbesi “Gorgormi” Woyome, the putative mega-financier of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), we learn of the contract of Waterville, the European-owned construction firm for which he allegedly fronted as a resident representative, having been abruptly broken, highly likely because he might have been suddenly discovered to harbor a great sympathy for the NDC. We must, however, also promptly point out that unlike the now-ruling National Democratic Congress, the Kufuor-led New Patriotic Party was well-known to relatively even-handedly offer contracts on a competitive basis to Ghanaian citizens irrespective of ideological and/or political alignment.

But this is also where matters get somewhat murky, because it appears as if the man who presently serves as General-Secretary of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr. Kwadwo Owusu-Afriyie (alias Sir John), might have played quite a yeomanly role in facilitating the CAN 2008 stadia-construction and renovation contractual award to the Austrian-based Waterville company. We also learn that for what he has personally described as the rendering of specially solicited legal services, Mr. Owusu-Afriyie partially got remunerated with a brand-new RAV-4 Toyota SUV by Mr. “Gorgormi” Woyome. Talk of politics making strange bedfellows! Needless to say, no wrongdoing is being alleged here by this writer.

Not surprisingly, caught with his proverbial pants down, the man currently being investigated for allegedly colluding with former Attorney-General Betty-Mould Iddrisi to willfully defraud the Ghanaian taxpayer of a humongous GH¢58 million or US $ 42 million, depending on who is presenting the narrative, vehemently denies ever having ideologically travelled with the followers of Drs. Danquah and Busia and, of course, Mr. Dombo, whom Mr. “Gorgormi” Woyome now haughtily calls the “Greedy Bastards” of the “Matemeho” gravy train.

In reality, though, it appears as if the Ewe-descended Mr. Agbesi “Gorgormi” Woyome, at least as evinced by his name, has a pet aversion or special hatred for Ghanaian citizens of Asante ancestry, for the criminal suspect also curiously claims that everything was going well for his Danquah-Busia-Dombo-leaning family until the National Liberation Movement (NLM) became a major political factor in the ideologically and politically reconfigured Busia-led United Party (UP).

Indeed, if any of the key players of the Sogakope Congress Party, otherwise known as the National Democratic Congress, requires immediate psychiatric examination, that person, of course, is none other than Mr. Alfred Agbesi “Gorgormi” Woyome. For it goes without saying that at absolutely no time were the Asante Region and the NLM not central to the institutional integrity of both the Ghana Congress Party (GCP) and the United Party. There was also, of course, the quite significant alliance of the preceding groups, as well as the Northern People’s Party (the original NPP), with the Antor-Ayeke-led Trans-Volta Togoland Congress (TVTC).

The source of his antipathy towards Ghanaians of Asante descent is not far-fetched, particularly when one reckons the fact that it was the Kufuor-led government of the New Patriotic Party that allegedly rescinded its contractual agreement with Waterville. And here also, the narrative plot gets eerily fuzzy. For instance, Mr. Kwadwo Mpiani, the presidential chief-of-staff under the Kufuor administration, has heatedly challenged Mr. “Gorgormi” Woyome and even claimed that no verifiable contractual compact was initialed between the NPP government and Waterville; and also that even more significantly, any systematic and meticulous investigation launched into the same is certain to yield no authentic documents affirming the stance of Mr. “Gorgormi” Woyome, regarding the forensic existence of the same.

In other words, at least in the testimony of the pro-“Gorgormi” narrators, there appears to have been what may be aptly termed as a “Nuncupative” or Oral Contract. Now, in our twenty-first century judicial establishment, this kind of “hearsay” contract is likely to become a tough sell, at best, although this does not appear to have been the case with the judge (Mr. Tanko?) who evidently authorized the first judgment debt payment of $17 million to the principals allegedly represented by Mr. “Gorgormi” Woyome.

In another epic twist, we learn from Nana Asante Bediatuo, a legal maven and keen observer of the “Woyome ‘Gorgormi’ Scandal” that, in fact, there exists a document clearly indicating that, indeed, the Waterville construction company had been fully financially satisfied by the Kufuor administration. If this piece of information turns out to have forensic traction, or veracity, then what we have here may well be a criminally culpable collaborative attempt by the key local actors involved to robbing the Ghanaian taxpayer in order to entrench a government which Mr. Rawlings recently described as unarguably the most corrupt and irredeemably chaotic, and boring (whatever the latter means), in postcolonial Ghanaian history. And Mr. Rawlings, more than any other critic, is in a vantage position to know this, because he is the official founder and chief patron of the ruling National Democratic Congress.

We also learn from Nana Asante Bediatuo that, indeed, under the country’s statute of limitations vis-à-vis contract law, of six years, Mr. “Gorgormi” Woyome’s petition for compensation may well have fallen outside its legally acceptable temporal confines. If the preceding observation is accurate, then Ghanaians ought to be looking forward to full restitution by the alleged capital fraudster and extortionist and his cronies, together with punitive fines and, perhaps, even considerable lengths of prison sentences.

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is Director of The Sintim-Aboagye Center for Politics and Culture and author of “Selected Political Writings” (Lulu.com, 2008). E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net.


Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

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