Former Attorney General Betty Mould Iddrisu should be blamed for supervising the illegal payment of 51 million cedis to businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome, the Judgment Debt Commission has concluded.
The Commission’s report seen by Joy News says the former A-G decided to settle the case out of court at a time she was ignorant of details of the claims Woyome made against the state in court.
The report also questions her decision to settle the issue instead of appearing in court to defend the state.
Though the commission did not invite both Mrs. Mould Iddrisu and Alfred Woyome because the case was in court then, it realised after studying copious documents including those submitted by Mr Woyome and the Economic and Organised Crime Office, that the payment was unwarranted but was made possible “through the connivance” of Mr. Woyome’s lawyers and officers from the A-G’s office and the Ministry of Finance, “when he had done no business for the State to merit such payment.”
According to the report, even going by Alfred Woyome’s own pleaded case, it was difficult to understand why Mrs. Betty-Mould Iddrisu would order that he (Woyome) be paid the cedi equivalent of €22, 129,501.74 for his alleged financial engineering costs alone.
“The Commission is minded to pose this question because Woyome as plaintiff, had pleaded that the total value of works actually done by his company Waterville plus his 2% financial engineering cost, which Waterville claimed from the Government of Ghana was Thirty-two million euros (€32, 000,000.00) in all. So why should Woyome’s 2% be bigger than what was actually paid to his principals Waterville for works alleged to have been actually done before the abrogation which was €21, 500,000.00?
“If what Woyome as plaintiff pleaded in his case against the State was true, then his so-called engineering cost of 2% which the Government did not pay would be the balance left out of the total claim of Thirty-two million euros (€32, 000,000.00) after paying Waterville the sum of Twenty-one million five hundred thousand euros (€21, 500,000.00) as the costs of actual works done before the abrogation of the contract. This balance would be Ten million, five hundred thousand euros (€10, 500,000.00) but not Twenty-two million, one hundred and twenty-nine thousand, five hundred and one euros (€22, 129,501.74) which the then Attorney-General Mrs. Betty Mould-Iddrisu ordered the Minister of Finance to pay to him.”
In the Commission’s view, Mr. Woyome succeeded in duping the state because he was aided by “selfish and greedy” public officials.
“This Commission finds as a fact that there was no basis for the payment of the sum of over GHc51 million to the plaintiff Alfred Agbesi Woyome. This is because, he was not entitled to any such payment as the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) rightly found and stated in its interim report dated February 1, 2012.
“The fact is that, Alfred Agbesi Woyome did not demonstrate in any way in his statement of claim that he ever brought into the country, through his alleged financial engineering expertise, the sum of (€1, 106,470,587.00) for the construction of stadia and medical facilities in the country as he claimed in his action. He could not therefore be entitled to 2% of that amount as he deceitfully succeeded in claiming from the State. At best, the trial Court should have set aside the default judgment it had wrongly entered against the State and allowed the Attorney General to defend the action as he intimated in the motion filed on 11th June 2010. The failure on the part of the trial High Court to do so led to the wrong payment of the huge sum of over GHc51 million to Alfred Agbesi Woyome who did not deserve it in the least.”
The Supreme Court last year ordered Mr. Woyome to refund the money, which the Commission is recommending that government takes steps to retrieve immediately.