Tuesday, January 29, 2013

State fails to produce witness in Woyome trial

January 29, 2013 (Page 3 Lead) THE state yesterday failed to produce a witness in the trial involving a businessman, Alfred Agbesi Woyome, who is accused of defrauding the state to the tune of GH¢51.2 million. A Chief State Attorney, Ms Cynthia Lamptey, told the Financial Division of the Fast Track High Court that “we should have brought a witness, but circumstances beyond our control made it impossible”. She, therefore, pleaded with the presiding judge, Mr Justice John Ajet-Nasam, to give the prosecution two weeks to produce a witness to testify on behalf of the state. The trial judge obliged and adjourned the case to February 12, 2013, thereby, making it the second time the prosecution has failed to bring a witness to court five weeks after its fourth witness had testified in the matter. A fourth prosecution witness, Ms Yvonne Quansah, who is stationed at the Financial Sector Division of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MoFEP), testified on December 19, 2012. Ms Quansah, who has since been discharged for completing her evidence in the trial, informed the court that Vamed Engineering, which was represented by Woyome, was shortlisted together with other companies for the construction of stadia for CAN 2008. Counsel for Woyome, Mr Osafo Buabeng, left the issue on whether or not the court should accept the prosecution’s prayer for adjournment to the discretion of the court. Mr Buabeng had on January 15, 2013, informed the court that he intended to challenge the prosecution of the case without a substantive Attorney-General. He indicated that in accordance with provisions of Article 88 of the 1992 Constitution, the Attorney-General, who is the principal legal advisor to the government and initiates all criminal proceedings, must be present in order to perform those functions but the court held a different view. Woyome is facing two counts of defrauding by false pretences and causing financial loss to the state. The accused, who has denied any wrongdoing, is alleged to have made fraudulent claims to the government, resulting in the payment of GH¢51.2 million to him. The three other prosecution witnesses who have testified in the matter are a Deputy Head of the Legal Department of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MoFEP), Mrs Mangowa Ghanney; a former Minister of MoFEP, Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, and a former Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Manu.

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