A-G appeals ruling in Woyome judgement debt case

The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong has appealed the High Court decision that absolved businessman Alfred Woyome of any wrongdoing.

The Attorney General is back in court, arguing the High Court judge Justice John Ajet Nassam erred in law when he acquitted and discharged Woyome of the charges brought against him by the state.

Alfred Woyome, a self-styled financier of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) was alleged to have defrauded the state by false pretences and causing financial loss to the state to the tune of GH¢ 51.2million.

The state maintained that the trial judge erred in law when he said the prosecution failed woefully to establish a prima facie case against Woyome.

Photo: Justice John Ajet Nassam

The state’s appeal may be bolstered by revelations that the trial judge, Mr Justice John Ajet-Nassam, has been named in the Anas bribery judicial scandal.

The undercover journalist publicly screened a video footage that showed John Ajet-Nassam allegedly taking bribes.

Ajet-Nassam has since been suspended pending investigations into the alleged bribery scandal.

The judge who presided over the Woyome trial had stated on March 12, 2015 that he did not understand why key actors in the case including former Attorney General and her deputy, Betty Mould Iddrisu and Ebo Barton Oduro respectively were not invited to testify.

He described the prosecution's case as "shoddy" and, therefore, acquitted and discharged Woyome.

He also ruled that the prosecution had twisted facts when it stated that there had been a misrepresentation, leading to the payment of GH¢51.2 million to Woyome.

But according to the prosecution, the personalities the trial judge held should have been called by the prosecution were immaterial to the case because officers from their various departments had testified.

“All these personalities referred to by the judge had nothing useful to add to what the prosecution witnesses who were called had already said.

“The various roles played by these personalities were not in their personal but official capacities,” the written submission from the prosecution, a statement signed by the acting Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Mrs Yvonne A. Obuobisa, said.

The other personalities cited in the judgement debt scandal who did not testify include then Head of the Legal Department of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MOFEP) Mr Paul Asimenu, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of CAN 2008 Mr Magnus Rex Danquah and a Chief State Attorney Samuel Nerquaye Tetteh, who advised the state to pay Woyome the amount.

In response, Woyome's lawyer Mr Ken Stephen Anku has filed a written submission arguing that the fact that Woyome was called upon to open his defence did not mean the state had proved his guilt to warrant his conviction.

The defence noted that there was no evidence against Woyome for a “reasonable tribunal” to convict him on and, for that reason, Mr Justice Ajet-Nasam should not have invited Woyome to open his defence.

It said Woyome played an integral part in the procurement process and argued that he was paid based on orders from the Commercial Court.

Alfred Agbesi Woyome

The defence also reiterated the trial court’s position that Mrs Mould-Iddrisu and other witnesses should have been called because they played roles leading up to the payment of the money to Woyome.

According to the defence, the failure of the prosecution to call the said material witnesses showed a “lack of transparency on the part of the prosecution”.

“It is submitted that the prosecution failed to call material witnesses and this failure in the circumstances must inure to the benefit of Alfred Woyome.

“The prosecution cannot now be heard to say that the decision of the learned judge on the point was wrong in law,” it said.

It also submitted that there was no bias assessment of the prosecution’s evidence on the part of the judge, as stated by the prosecution.

“The learned judge reviewed the evidence of the witnesses called by the prosecution and came to the conclusion that there was no compelling evidence to convict the respondent on the charges preferred against him,” the defence noted.