Wednesday, February 8, 2012 (LEAD STORY)
THE Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service has officially invited a former Minister of Finance and Economic Planning (MOFEP), Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, to answer questions in connection with the circumstances that led to the payment of GH¢51.2 million in judgement debt to Alfred Agbesi Woyome, a businessman.
This brings to five the number of persons who have been formally invited by the CID to help the police in their investigations into the payment of the money to Woyome.
Woyome is currently on remand with a Chief State Attorney, Samuel Nerquaye-Tetteh, and the Director of Legal Services at the MOFEP, Paul Asimenu. Gifty Nerquaye-Tetteh, the wife of Nerquaye-Tetteh, into whose account Woyome deposited GH¢400,000, is on bail.
A sixth official, a former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu, under whose tenure the judgement debt was awarded to Woyome, has also indicated her willingness to assist the CID to unravel the truth.
The CID’s invitation was extended through Mr Osafo-Maafo’s lawyer, Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, on Monday to inform his client to report at the CID Headquarters at 11 a.m. yesterday.
However, the meeting could not take place because CID officials cancelled it at the last hour because of other engagements.
According to Mr Dame, “We were on our way to the CID office when, in the middle of the trip, I received a call from an official who said the meeting had been cancelled.”
An official at the CID Headquarters confirmed Mr Dame’s testimony and explained that the invitation had been cancelled at the last hour because the CID had other equally important engagements.
“We will invite him in due course,” the official said, but did not state the specific date or time for the invitation.
Mr Dame, in an interview with the Daily Graphic, said his client was waiting to receive a new date from the police.
He stated that the developments debunked claims that Mr Osafo-Maafo was evading the police.
“We are willing and prepared to assist the police to expose any wrongdoing by any public officer connected with fraudulent payments to Woyome,” Mr Dame said.
He said his client was also ready to prove that the decisive action he took in cancelling the procurement process initiated while he was in office resulted in the “state enormously saving public funds” which would have been lost.
Counsel further stated that his client should receive commendation, instead of condemnation, for acting in a way to save the state millions of dollars which would have been lost.
Woyome is standing trial at the Financial Division of the Fast Track High Court for allegedly defrauding the state to the tune of GH¢51.2 million.
He is alleged to have put in false claims to defraud the state to the tune of GH¢51.2 million, with the active connivance and assistance of Nerquaye-Tetteh and Asimenu.
The three were remanded to reappear on February 13, 2012.
Woyome pleaded not guilty to three counts of conspiracy, defrauding by false pretences and corrupting a public officer.
Nerquaye-Tetteh was charged with two counts of conspiracy and corruption of a public officer. He pleaded not guilty to the offence, while his wife faced one count of abetment of crime.
Asimenu, on the other hand, pleaded not guilty to one count of abetment of crime.
Gifty Nerquaye-Tetteh, who is alleged to have allowed Woyome to pay GH¢400,000 into her bank account, is currently on GH¢500,000 bail.