According to the main opposition party, the financier of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) should be paying Gh¢130 m which is today’s equivalent of Gh¢51.2 m (a payment which was made in 2010/2011).
“The NPP calls on all Ghanaians to be vigilant stand up and fight for the payments to Mr. Woyome to be refunded to the State. GHC51.2m in 2010/ 2011 is today worth over GHC130m per the prevailing exchange rate,” the communications director of the NPP Nana Akomea said at a press briefing, Tuesday.
“Per the Supreme Court ruling, there is no basis for the payments, and the payments were in pursuit of an agenda to create, loot and share. Per the government’s own suit against Woyome, the payments were a mistake. Ghanaians should therefore demand the prosecution of all officials who facilitated this “mistake” or this create, loot and share. Enough is enough.”
Below is the full statement:
Ladies and Gentlemen, the High Court acquittal of Mr. Woyome last Thursday 12th March, 2015 vindicates the NPP’s, and indeed many Ghanaians, long held position that the criminal trial of Mr. Woyome was just a “show trial” to throw dust into the eyes of Ghanaians, and that the payment of the colossal amount of GHC51.2m ($36.5m or over GHC135m today) to Mr. Woyome was simply a ploy by government to steal taxpayers’ monies.
It is instructive that the trial Judge described the effort by the government to prosecute Mr. Woyome as “shoddy”, “lackadaisical” and “a complete waste of time”. Indeed, the attempt at the criminal prosecution was so shoddy that the testimonies of some state prosecution witnesses were actually used by Mr. Woyome’s defense as vindication of their (Woyome’s) case.
The trial Judge’s comments are also in consonance with comments by Supreme Court justices in the civil case. The Supreme Court also held that there was “absolutely” no basis for the payments to Messrs. Woyome and Waterville, and that it should have been clear to anyone that the claims cannot hold water. One Supreme Court Justice concluded that the payments could only be in pursuit of an agenda to “create, loot and Share.”
That the government of Ghana, entrusted with the peoples’ mandate to govern, could perpetuate such a gargantuan fraud on the poor people of Ghana is mind boggling. The facts and process surrounding the payments to Mr. Woyome most clearly demonstrate connivance and collusion, without which motive, the payments defy logic.
SEQUENCE OF EVENTS
1. Woyome made a claim to the new NDC government on February 18 2010, claiming payments for work he claimed he did for the previous government in 2007-2008.
2. Without consulting the relevant members of the former government and only claiming advice from lawyers at the AG’s office and at the ministry of finance, sports ministry officials, the Attorney General wrote to her colleague Minister for Finance on 17 March 2010 and 31st March 2010 to request payments be made to Mr. Woyome.
3. The Minister for Finance on April 6 2010, just one week after instructed the Controller and Accountant General (CAGD) to process the payments.
4. The CAGD promptly on April 7, 2010, issues instructions to Bank of Ghana.
5. The Minister of Finance then on April 12, 2010, wrote to ask the Attorney General for further documentation on Woyome’s claim.
6. Due to some delay in the payment, Mr. Woyome filed his claim against government in court on April 19, 2010. The Attorney General put up no defense whatsoever in court, Mr. Woyome hence had the liberty to amend his claim twice, and shortly obtained an uncontested, default judgment on May 24, 2010 (one month, five days) for the amount in excess of GHC105.5million.
7. The A-G now promptly enters into negotiations with Mr. Woyome and both settle on the payment of GHC51.2m, to be paid in three installment of about GHC17million each. They duly filed this in court as “consent judgment” on June 4, 2010.
8. Strangely, just five (5) days later, on 9 June, 2010, the A.G apparently had a change of mind, and went back to court, this time claiming Mr. Woyome did not deserve any payments, that the agreement was a mistake, and prayed the court to set aside the consent judgement filed 5days earlier.
9. The High Court eventually on September 9th ruled that as per the terms of the consent judgement filed by both Mr. Woyome and the A.G, the government was to pay only “the due amount of GHC17million”, while court went into the merits of the A-G’s writ.
10. Most strangely, under circumstances not well explained up to date, the A.G proceeded to “a pre-trial settlement conference” with Mr. Woyome on 7th December, 2010, at which they agreed that government will pay ALL the GHC51.2m to Mr. Woyome.
11. The government through the Ministry of Finance, accordingly proceeded to pay to Mr. Woyome GHC10m on January 27, 2011, another GHC10m on April 8 2011, and GHC14.1m on September 12, 2011. This in addition to the earlier payment of GHC17m on October 6, 2010 brought the total to GHC51.2m.
12. After the final payment in September 2011, all was forgotten until the Auditor General reported the payments to parliament late 2011. The resulting public uproar, disdain and shock forced the government in early 2012, to arrest Mr. Woyome and resume the abandoned court case against him.
It is this case that has been eventually dismissed on 12th March, 2015 for being “shoddy, lackadaisical and a total waste of time.”
The evidence of collusion and connivance on the part of government cannot be denied. The questions that arise include;
1) Why did Woyome not take government to court in 2007/2008?
2) Why did the Attorney General upon receipt of Woyome’s petition/claims on February 2010 not contact members of the previous government?
3) Why did the A.G not defend Woyome’s claims in court against the State in April 2010, leading to the default Judgement against the State in excess of GHC105.5m?
4) Why did the A.G five (5) days after negotiating terms of settlement with Mr. Woyome, go to court to file counter claims against Mr. Woyome?
5) When the High Court in September grant the State partial payment of GHC17m, why did the A.G proceed to a pre-trial conference with Mr. Woyome in December, 2010 and agreed to the payment of ALL the monies?
6) The government has subsequently been in court, claiming that the payments to Mr. Woyome were obtained through fraud, so how come government officials, including Ministers of State who allowed this so called fraud, have never been prosecuted?
It is also instructive to note that, when the scandal broke, all kinds of high ranking government officials and communicators stoutly defended the payments.
Yesterday, to make matters even murkier, Mr. Woyome is also claiming that the current A-G’s firm and clients also benefitted from the payments.
The NPP calls on all Ghanaians to be vigilant stand up and fight for the payments to Mr. Woyome to be refunded to the State. GHC51.2m in 2010/ 2011 is today worth over GHC130m per the prevailing exchange rate. Per the Supreme Court ruling, there is no basis for the payments, and the payments were in pursuit of an agenda to create, loot and share. Per the government’s own suit against Woyome, the payments were a mistake.
Ghanaians should therefore demand the prosecution of all officials who facilitated this “mistake” or this create, loot and share. Enough is enough….