The Attorney General’s Department has filed a notice at the Supreme Court to discontinue a case it filed about a week ago against businessman, Alfred Agbesi Woyome, in the controversial GHc51 million judgment debt saga.
In a press statement, OccupyGhana said it was “shocked, horrified and disgusted to discover that, as we suspected and feared, there is a current attempt by the Attorney-General of the Republic of Ghana to abandon or discontinue the current recovery steps being taken to compel Alfred Woyome to disclose where his assets are and possibly how he disbursed the GHS51, 000,000 of our money, so that it can be returned to Ghana.
"We have seen a ‘Notice of Discontinuance’ filed by the Attorney-General on 26th October 2016, ‘discontinuing the present application to orally examine’ Woyome.”
The Attorney General, per an earlier notice, would have orally examined Mr. Woyome on November 10, 2016.
But a notice of discontinuance filed at the Supreme Court has indicated that: “please take notice that the 1st Defendant Judgment Creditor [Attorney General] herein has this day [26th Day of October 2016] discontinued the present application to orally examine the 3rd Defendant Judgment Debtor [Alfred Agesi Woyome] with liberty to reapply.”
OccupyGhana has subsequently accused the authorities of not showing commitment to retrieving the monies wrongly paid to the businessman due to the “Notice of Discontinuance”.
Mr Woyome has been in the news since 2012 for allegedly putting in false claims to defraud the state to the tune of GH¢51.2 million, but the High Court and the Court of Appeal have cleared him of any wrongdoing.
However, the Supreme Court has directed him to refund the money, following which the Attorney-General’s office put in processes to recover the money.
The businessman, however, in April 2016 resisted attempts by officials of the Attorney General’s department and the Lands Commission to have access to his Kpehe residence for valuation.
Mr Woyome argued that the planned valuation was illegal.
Below is the full statement from OccupyGhana:
OCCUPYGHANA® PRESS STATEMENT
OCCUPYGHANA® SHOCKED AT ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S ATTEMPT TO LET WOYOME KEEP OUR GH₵ 51M.
OccupyGhana® is shocked, horrified and disgusted to discover that, as we suspected and feared, there is a current attempt by the Attorney-General of the Republic of Ghana to abandon or discontinue the current recovery steps being taken to compel Alfred Woyome to disclose where his assets are and possibly how he disbursed the GH₵ 51,000,000 of OUR MONEY, so that it can be returned to Ghana. We have seen a “Notice of Discontinuance” filed by the Attorney-General on 26th October 2016, “discontinuing the present application to orally examine” Woyome.
It would be recalled that on 25th October 2016, we issued a statement pointing to the refreshingly far-reaching order of the Supreme Court directed at Woyome to appear and testify on his assets. On the basis of the application moved and the order given, Woyome would be compelled by the court to make the following disclosures:
1. Whether there are any debts owing to him,
2. Whether he has any property for satisfying the judgment,
3. Whether he has any other means of satisfying the judgment, and
4. Whether he used the monies paid to him by the Republic of Ghana in any investments within or outside Ghana.
We can now reveal that we issued that statement because we had heard that after the order was obtained and served on Woyome, immense pressure was brought to bear on the Attorney-General’s Department to abandon that process. The key concern, we learnt, had to do with Woyome being compelled to disclose how he spent OUR MONEY, because the answer to that question would reveal the names of all the persons who benefitted from OUR MONEY. What we did not believe at the time was that on the very next day after our statement, the Attorney-General would so easily cave in to the pressure and abandon probably the only option left to Ghana to recover OUR MONEY from Woyome.
It is clear to us that this Government and its Attorney-General are either scared of Woyome or do not have the moral courage to pursue him for OUR MONEY. We cannot forget that this Government deliberately bungled the civil case it reluctantly filed to claim the money from Woyome, and secretly paid the money to him at a time when that case was still pending, and when the court had allowed the Government to hold on to at least two-thirds of the money. We cannot forget that but for the admirable and sacrificial vigilance and work of Mr. Martin Amidu, Woyome might never have been compelled to refund OUR MONEY.
What we have seen, since that judgment, is probably the slowest, tardiest and most reluctant enforcement steps in this history of this nation. Ghanaians are now being told that the affluent Woyome, who took and splurged OUR GH₵ 51,000,000 as if it was some pocket change, is now broke, has sold all his assets and there is nothing against which we can recover OUR MONEY. This farcical and ludicrous position confirms that this Government has no interest in recovering OUR MONEY. We suspect that any attempt to trace those monies would make some persons in this Government very uncomfortable.
But if the Attorney-General thought that she had nailed this coffin and kissed OUR MONEY goodbye, she got this wrong; dead wrong. Three reasons:
First, there is no pending application for one to be discontinued. That application has been moved and granted already. What there is now is a valid and subsisting order of the Supreme Court, which cannot be discontinued by any party. Until it is set aside or vacated by the Supreme Court itself, that order remains. We expect that on 10th November 2016, Woyome will still show up in court. If he refuses to show up, the Supreme Court could compel his attendance.
Second, technically, Woyome is a witness of the court, having been summoned on the orders of the court. Thus, even if the Attorney-General refuses to attend the 10th November 2016 proceedings to examine Woyome, the Supreme Court itself has the power to ask those relevant questions, and Woyome would be compelled to answer them and provide all the information required.
Third, and thank God, Mr. Martin Amidu is still alive and well, and is still a party to the court action. He has every right to appear in court on 10th November and seek the permission of the court to examine Woyome, whether the Attorney-General shows up or not.
While expressing our disgust at this shameful tactic, we are confident that the Supreme Court, which has proven to be the last bastion in the fight against corruption, will not let the people of this country down. Although the Supreme Court may be our last hope, we encourage all well-meaning Ghanaians to make their voices heard on this. Ultimately, we own this nation and elect leaders to serve us.
When those leaders fail us, we need to speak up and compel them by the sheer force of our existence and convictions, to act. May this be another defining and watershed moment when the people of Ghana rise up, again and in unison, to demand that the right thing is done. We need OUR MONEY back. WE OWE THAT TO POSTERITY!!