The Economic and Organised Crimes Office Thursday morning submitted its report on the controversial Woyome judgement debt to President John Atta Mills after weeks of investigations.
President Mills has directed the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Dr Benjamin Kunbour to study the report and advise him appropriately.
Joy News’ Seth Kwame Boateng reported the Executive Director of EOCO Mordey Akpadzi as saying President Mills twice asked that Woyome should not be paid and twice that directive was violated and the payments made.
Keen to stress the report is credible, Mr Akpadzi said EOCO consulted all the relevant documents and arrived at the conclusion that some government officials – both past and present – were negligent, giving rise to the situation.
“We realised quite some element of non-performance, for want of a better word, on the part of officials who should have done better than they did and but for the intervention of His Excellency the President, we believe things could have even been worse,” he said.
Which officials? he was asked, to which he responded, “the whole matter as you have seen started with actions by past officials and it was further aggravated by current officials and all led to what is now being called ‘the Woyome case.'”
Explaining what he said was the intervention by the president, Mr Akpadzi said, “What the facts have shown is that when the initial issue of paying Mr Woyome came up, His Excellency [the President] ordered the Ministry of Finance not to pay. Then Mr Woyome went to court and got a court order and even then His Excellency ordered the Attorney-General to go to court and get the order to set aside because Mr Woyome was not entitled to the money. So His Excellency intervened at two levels.”
It is the belief of EOCO, he insisted, that the NDC financier had no basis for making the claims which accorded him the GHS52 million judgement debt.
Receiving the report, President Mills thanked EOCO for a good job done but scolded some members of the opposition NPP who declined EOCO’s invitations as part of their investigations and secured court backing for their stand.
“Many of us talk about democracy, we talk about respect for rights and I believe, therefore, that our actions should show that we are indeed interested in democracy and also the search for the truth,” he said.
The A-G, Dr Kunbour assured the President the report will be used to augment the AG Department’s writ against Mr Woyome in court.
Only Tuesday Mr Alfred Agbesi Woyome, the beneficiary of the GHS52 million controversial judgement debt, went to court to bar the investigative body from prying into the matter, contending that since the judgement was the decision of a court of law, EOCO had no mandate to reopen that case. Law lecturer Ernest Kofi Abotsi agreed.
President Mills ordered EOCO to investigate the payments after the issue assumed a national debate consuming in its wake a serving and a former Attorney-General – Mr Martin Amidu (who was sacked) and Mrs Betty-Mould Iddrisu ( who resigned from her position as Education Minister).
The president received a lot of flak from primarily opposition elements who insisted that the president’s claim that he did not order the payments was unconvincing, especially when he said Ghanaians must know who caused the liability.
They maintained the amount involved was so huge he could not claim to be unaware of the payments.
Replying them, President Mills said he could not be so criminally minded and irresponsible to order such payments to a single individual.
The opposition NPP said they would grant the president the benefit of the doubt but added if he was not aware, questions ought to be asked as to what else he was not aware of.
President Mills maintained his innocence, insisting the finance ministry does not seek approval from him when making payments.
In spite of his denial of any complicity, the public discussions grew louder and more deafening.
The raging discussions received, it seems, constant supply of fuel when dismissed Attorney-General Martin Amidu, responding to attacks by pro-government newspapers accused a colleague minister of seeking to cover up gargantuan crimes against the people of Ghana.
He ratcheted up the debate by filing an amendment to a writ arguing the NDC financier, Woyome, had no contract with the government of Ghana and that he procured the favourable consent judgement through fraudulent misrepresentations.
Mr Amidu was subsequently dismissed for what the Presidency said was misconduct – Communications Director at the Presidency Koku Anyidoho would later explain Mr Amidu was sacked because he failed to substantiate his allegations of attempts to cover up gargantuan crimes.