A legal practitioner, Mr Tony Lithur, has denied rumours he has been defending businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome in court.
“This rumour, which has found its way onto radio stations and other media platforms including social media, is completely false. In any case, Woyome himself has stated publicly that I have a personal vendetta against him,” counsel noted.
According to Mr Lithur, his law firm which had the current Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mrs Marietta Brew Appiah-Opong, as a partner, had on all occasions defended Woyome’s opponents.
Reacting to the said rumours in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday, Mr Lithur said “our firm has handled four cases against Woyome. Two have been settled and two are still pending in court”.
Woyome gains freedom
Woyome was on Thursday, March 12, 2015 acquitted and discharged on two counts of defrauding by false pretence and causing financial loss to the state.
The High Court, presided over by Mr Justice John Ajet-Nasam took on the Attorney-General’s Department for paying GH¢51.2 million to Woyome in 2010 only to turn around to prosecute him for fraud.
It said the prosecutors failed to prove the ingredients of fraud to warrant the court to convict Woyome.
The Attorney-General’s Department has expressed its disagreement with the judgement and has since indicated its intention to appeal.
Where from rumours
The court’s decision has sparked public outcry and in the midst of it Mr Lithur and Mrs Appiah-Opong have been aligned with Woyome.
“I do not know where this falsehood of us defending Woyome is coming from. It is amazing how people can sit and conjecture falsehood only in the name of what?” Mr Lithur queried and advised persons engaged in what he termed “vile propaganda” to stop.
Cases in question
“We have never represented Woyome in any matter. In all matters, we have been against him,” Mr Lithur said.
Enumerating the cases his firm had handled against Woyome, Mr Lithur said his firm was representing the Managing Editor of the Enquirer newspaper, Mr Raymond Archer, in the case in which Woyome sued Mr Archer over ownership of the paper.
“The second was a defamation suit Woyome filed against the Enquirer but it was thrown out after we raised preliminary legal objections.
“Woyome has since re-filed the defamation suit but is yet to pursue it,” Mr Lithur explained.
Explaining further, counsel said his client, Mr Ray Smith, sued Woyome for a $1 million loan Woyome took from him to run his (Woyome’s) foundation.
According to counsel, Mr Smith resorted to the court when Woyome allegedly refused to pay back the said amount.
Mr Lithur continued, “There are correspondences between Woyome and us to prove we had acted against him.”
Citing another instance of disagreement between his client and Woyome, counsel said Mr Smith was indisposed and as a result of that he (Mr Smith) appointed Woyome as an alternate director in Mpowapak but “Woyome took more than GH¢200,000 from the company’s account resulting in my client pursuing him to pay back. He has since paid back all the money to my client”.
In the fourth case, Mr Lithur said Austro-Invest contacted him to make claims against Woyome after Austro-Invest had given Woyome the power of attorney to follow up on the GH¢51.2 million, which had been duly paid.
Austro-Invest had worked with a team that negotiated for the 1.1 billion euro facility from Bank Austria.
“I filed the suit on behalf of Austro-Invest but I advised the company to withdraw the suit after hell broke loose on the said GH¢51.2 million,” Mr Lithur added, and advised the public to make statements from informed positions.
Mr Lithur did not indicate the action he would take if the “vile campaign” did not stop, but warned “this vile campaign to tag my firm and I as Woyome’s allies will not wash. It will be in the interest of those championing those lies to stop with immediate effect”.