The cross examination of embattled businessman, Alfred Agbesi Woyome was yesterday brought to a pre-mature end due to power cut in the courtroom.
Barely an hour after the state prosecution, Mrs.Yvonne Atakora Oboubisa started grilling the accused person, the trial judge, Justice John Ajet-Nassam signalled her to suggest a date because, "The heat is unbearable. I can't go ahead."
Prior to adjourning proceedings to Thursday, November 13, the cross-examination of the accused person had to be put on hold for the window curtains in the courtroom to be adjusted to allow flow of air- but it yielded little impact.
Justice Ajet-Nassan who has been taking manual records of proceedings in court at his new office located within the Cocoa Affairs Court because of lack of gadgets was seen sweating and somewhere along the line sent for his face towel to be brought to him, saying, "I am baking. The paper is getting wet."
Mr. Woyome responding to questions from the prosecution about a letter he tendered in evidence as exhibit 17 as a letter of support to the Bank of Austria for a release of funds said, "it was part of the letters of support and is based on the condition of government set for the bid process, which states that nobody will be awarded a contract until and unless there is a proof of funding. And these letters of support were tendered by me."
He told the court that, it went before the sub-committee of finance headed by the deputy governor of the Bank of Ghana, and due diligence was done by testing, adding that he appeared before them before they approved the money of 1.5billion Euros.
The accused told the court that the funding support of the said exhibit-17 was in respect of the stadia for CAN 2008 tournament.
The prosecution pulled its exhibit-S which is analogous to the accused exhibit-17 he tendered and asked him to indicate the difference. In response, he said, they are the same documents just that exhibit-S has middle page while exhibit-17 does not have. He described both exhibits for the offer for release of fund as a "definitive offer."
Also, when it was suggested to him that the said letter was never accepted by government, he replied in the negative saying, "My Lord, it's incorrect. A lot of proof has been tendered here (court)," and that the document talked about was guaranteed by Bank of Ghana on behalf of government and that government had accepted it before September 30, 2005.
According to him, the concurrent approval accepted by government was done on August 5, 2005 more than a month before its expiration, adding that a section of the procurement law states that, "the moment concurrent approval is issued, the minister shall issue a contract and do anything possible not to interfere with the issues."
When it was put to him that the procurement process was truncated before He added that, "Mr. Osarfo Marfo's letter and warning to cabinet is here. But the legal entity completed the process before August 5, and it ended the matter that no one had the right to truncate the process when approved."
When the prosecution reminded him that Mr. Marfo was a member of the cabinet and had stated before the court that by cabinet decision the procurement process was truncated in a letter to Vamed, he disagreed saying, "Osarfo Marfo was on record that he was just a minority of those who warned to truncate the process. The procurement process stated that no one has the right to interfere with legal tender process where the law is involved."
Again, when the state attorney suggested to him that it was because the process was truncated that was why the offer was made to Shanghai to construct the Essipon Stadium, the accused disagreed saying," it is on record that the then president J. A. Kufuor as the bid process was continuing travelled to China, met Shanghai group and the Ambassador of Ghana to sign the contract while the process was on."
Mr. Woyome said Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) and Special Purpose Company were the security to the letter of support while the latter was also to be determined in Accra.
According to him, "the committee of finance mentioned that and gave government two options-funds from our own budget or speed up the process with MIGA and it is on record that government had a meeting with me after the concurrent approval, put in place by the then Merchant Bank."
The accused, however, told the court that the report was accepted by the entity tender committee chaired by the minister of sports and forwarded to Central Tender Review Board that the financing was accepted, and that though he cannot tell the number of companies evaluated, he can only attest to two that were interviewed and mentioned them as EMSAS-Epifem and VAMED.
In the course of the suffocating atmosphere in the courtroom, the principal state attorney, Mrs Obuobisa expressed concern about being intimidated by some members present in the court room. She drew the judge's attention to what she described as being 'chuckled at' when grilling the accused.
Justice Ajet-Nassam warned observers in the courtroom to be circumspect, especially, followers of the accused. He said the principal state attorney was only doing her work and therefore does not mean she is an enemy to the accused, saying, "If I hear that I will walk you out”.