Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Betty,Odro wrote to justify Woyome's claims

By Stephen Kwabena Effah
June 11, 2013

Lawyers for businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome, yesterday tendered in evidence, three letters written by former Attorney General, Betty Mould-Iddrisu and her Deputy, Ebo Barton-Odro, to the Ministry of Finance justifying claims made by Mr. Woyome against the State.

Per the three letters, the former Attorney General and her deputy advanced reasons for the legitimacy of Mr. Woyome’s claims against the State and accordingly requested the Minister of Finance to pay Mr.Woyome.
Two of the letters dated April 11 and April 29, 2010 were written by Mrs. Mould-Iddrisu while the other one dated March 29, 2010 was written by Mr. Barton-Odro.

The three letters were tendered through the acting Chief Director of the Ministry of Justice, Mr Suleiman Ahmed, when he mounted the witness box yesterday to continue his evidence under cross-examination by Sarfo Buabeng, counsel for Mr. Woyome.

Mr. Woyome is being tried for defrauding by false pretences and causing financial loss to the state; charges he has denied since June 5, 2012. Three other alleged accomplices who were put before court with him were discharged on June 5, 2012 following a nolle prosequi by the state.

According to prosecutors, Mr Woyome in February 2010 made false representation to the government that it owed him two percent of 1,106,470,587.00 Euros for his services in the area of financial engineering for the rehabilitation of the Accra and El-Wak Stadia ahead of the CAN 2008 African Cup of Nations.

He is further accused of “wilfully and fraudulently causing huge financial losses” of GHC 51,283, 480.59 to the state between September 2010 and September 2011.

At its hearing yesterday, Mr. Ahmed agreed with counsel that per the letter written by Mr. Barton-Odro, Mr. Woyome’s claim was based on the consortium, and that the consortium would have brought into the project a total of 106,470,587 Euros covering sports and facilities, radiation plant and tissue culture  and hospital and wellness centres.

According to him, Mr. Woyome claimed a four percent of the total project amount as financial engineering but was reduced to two percent after negotiations.

The witness agreed with counsel that the AG at the time sought and independent opinion from Rex Danquah of the CAN 2008 Local Organising Committee, BIC and the Legal Department of the Finance Ministry, all of who gave approval.

The witness told the court that “She (Mrs.Mould-Iddrisu) indicated that she had consulted with these persons before sending her opinion to the Ministry of Finance”.

Touching on the letter written by Mr. Barton-Odro, the witness said he has not sighted it before but a copy was handed to him in court which he read. After reading it he said: “this signature looks like that of Barton-Odro”.

The witness agreed with counsel that the former AG in her letter dated April 11, 2010 and signed by Mrs. Mould-Iddrisu, advised the Finance Minister at the time to pay Mr.Woyome in order to put matters to rest.

He also confirmed counsel submission to the effect that it was as a result of a judgement obtained by Mr.Woyome in an action instituted against the AG and the Finance Ministry that Mr. Woyome was paid.

Mr. Ahmed said subsequent to that judgement, the AG and Mr.Woyome as well as his lawyers went into negotiations and that the outcome of that negotiation was the amount paid to Mr.Woyome.

He agreed with counsel that the said negotiations were filed and executed but pointed out that he did not see a copy of the terms of that negotiation.
When asked whether the AG later sued Mr.Woyome, he answered affirmatively but said he could not recall the exact date.

He confirmed that after the initial payment of GHC 17 million plus was paid to Mr. Woyome as first instalment; the Commercial Court stayed further payments to Mr. Woyome until the determination of the case brought by the AG against Mr.Woyome.

When asked by counsel as to whether he has seen any order setting aside the stay order, he answered negatively. He agreed with counsel that while the case was pending the AG entered into negotiation with Mr.Woyome and that the said negotiation compromised the stay order of the court.

The record of proceedings from the case borught by Mr.Woyome against the State and the one initiated by the AG against Mr.Woyome were tendered in evidence through the witness.

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