Thursday, November 6, 2014

Court turns down Woyome

Alfred Agbesi Woyome
Alfred Agbesi Woyome

A request by Alfred Agbesi Woyome, the businessman facing trial for fraud, for a meeting in camera with the trial judge was yesterday turned down.
Woyome in open court pleaded with the court to seek audience with Mr Justice John Ajet-Nasam in the presence of state prosecutors, but the judge, who was visibly surprised with the request, refused.
He advised the accused person, who is facing two counts of defrauding by false pretence and wilfully causing financial loss to the state, to relay his concerns to his lawyer in the presence of the prosecution.
Counsel for Woyome, Mr Sarfo Buabeng, was absent in court resulting in Mr David Annan standing in for him.
The request
Woyome had endured an hour of cross-examination from a Chief State Attorney, Mrs Yvonne Attakorah Obuobisa, and the lawyers were in the process of taking a date for the next hearing only for Woyome to raise his hands.
Asked what his problem was, he answered, “My Lord, I want to see you in the presence of the prosecution.”
Mr Justice Ajet-Nasam looked awed, quickly gathered his composure and told the accused person that it was wrong for him to make such a request.
He said such a request may send wrong signals.
Yentie obiaa
Another scene ensued when the trial judge spoke in parables after Mr Annan had expressed concern over the prosecution’s seeming long cross-examination of Woyome.
Mr Annan’s beef was that Mrs Obuobisa was repeating her questions which he thought was dragging the case on but the judge reminded him that the prosecution was doing its best in expediting the trial.
Mr Justice Ajet-Nasam said he was handling Woyome’s case as any ordinary case.
According to him, he had not received any instruction from the Chief Justice to handle the case on a daily basis like was done in the Presidential Election Petition.
“This is a normal case. There is no pressure from any quarter,” he stressed, and added, “Yentie obiaa,” which translates to mean he is adamant.
Hearing continues on Monday, November 10, 2014.
Earlier, Mrs Obuobisa revealed that Woyome wrote to a former Attorney-General requesting for the payment of $500,000 being extra cost he incurred.
She accordingly asked him what the money was meant for, but he denied and said that was a separate issue.
He said that claim had nothing to do with his petition, which had implored the then Attorney-General to pay him for expenditure he incurred while raising 1.1 billion euros from Banc Austria.
He also refuted the claim that he had made false representation to the effect that Vamed Engineering had won the contract for stadia construction for CAN 2008.
“I never made false representation in this case. The concurrent approval from the Central Tender Review Board constitutes an award of a contract, and that cannot be false representation,” Woyome said.
Mrs Obuobisa suggested to the accused person that the concurrent approval was never communicated to him by the tender board, but he insisted that the then Minister of Education and Sports gave him the approval.
Pressing further, Mrs Obuobisa reminded him that Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo was on record to have said otherwise to which Woyome said “this is partly correct but by giving me the documents, he has communicated”.
Mrs Obuobisa: By August 22, 2005, it was not true when you stated to the Attorney-General that you had incurred a huge cost including partial construction cost.
Woyome: My Lord, this is incorrect. There was no claim on construction. I asked for professional fees for financial engineering in sourcing for funds from Banc Austria.
Mrs Obuobisa also accused Woyome of deliberately excluding the part where bidders for CAN 2008 were expected to operate on a turn-key basis in his petition, but he denied that assertion.

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