Thursday, June 19, 2014

I lost GH¢54m for renegotiating judgement — Woyome

19 June 2014 page 20
Businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome yesterday stated that he lost GH¢54 million as a result of renegotiating a default judgement awarded him by the Commercial Court against the state.
According to him, the court originally awarded him GH¢105 million, being four per cent of a 1.1 billion Euro facility he raised from Banc Austria, but the money was reduced to GH¢51.2 million because the state said it was not in the position to pay the four per cent.
The accused person said following the renegotiation of the amount, he and the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu, signed an agreement to that effect.
He said the terms of settlement was filed at the registry of the Commercial Court and just when he and his lawyer were about to move in for its execution, the Attorney-General filed a process at the same court with the explanation that “everything to that stage was arrived at by mistake.”
Terming the Attorney-General’s position then as “strange and in bad faith,” Woyome said he and his lawyers decided to contest the state’s claim.

“Ruling delivered in my favour”

He said the court ruled  in his favour and it was later agreed that a timetable be drawn for the money to be paid in tranches.
According to him, the state was already out of time in honouring the payment of GH¢17 million, the amount for the first tranche.
The court, the accused person explained, also directed him to put in a guarantee which stated that he would refund the money if he lost the state’s contest to his default judgement.
Asked by his counsel, Mr Sarfo Buabeng, why he received the rest of the money despite the court’s order, Woyome explained that interest was accruing as the case between him and the state progressed, and for that reason, a pre-trial conference was held at the Commercial Court to resolve that.
Woyome told the court that the government, represented by the Attorney-General, voluntarily asked him and his lawyer to submit a proposal on how the remaining   amount would be paid. He said the government eventually paid the full amount into his account at the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB). 
He also informed the court that the state did not put in any defence to his suit at the Commercial Court, adding that it eventually led to the award of a default judgment in his favour.

Money not enough

Woyome indicated that the GH¢51.2 million was not enough to cater for loans he raised from local banks as well as payments he made to consultants in the United States of America (USA) but he, nonetheless, accepted it.
Testifying in his GH¢51.2 million criminal case, the accused person said he lost a property in Washington DC as a result of the reduction of the amount due him and he struggled to pay off local banks he had contracted loans from while arranging syndication of loans for the construction of stadia, hospitals and other facilities for the CAN 2008 tournament.


The accused person told the court, presided over by Mr Justice John Ajet-Nasam, that there were attempts to pay him but the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MOFEP) tried to block the payment but the Attorney-General then wrote to the MOFEP to defend the payment.
He also narrated how Mrs Mould-Iddrisu asked him to write a justification letter within 48 hours to explain why he was entitled to the claim, with the explanation that a committee had been set up at the seat of the presidency to investigate his claim.
He said he sought audience with late President J.E.A. Mills but did not give details and further disclosed that he met the then Deputy Chief of Staff, Mr Alex Segbefia, over the issue.
According to him, Mr Segbefia requested copies of documents, which he provided and that resulted in Mr Segbefia asking he and his lawyer to go back and negotiate the default judgement with the Attorney-General.
He told the court that he eventually negotiated with the government, resulting in the release of the entire GH¢51.2 million to him.
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