Judgment debt OccupyGhana urges AG to retrieve Woyome's GH¢51m

The state later filed an application at the Supreme Court seeking direction to enforce the order to compel Mr Woyome to refund the money.

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Businessman, Alfred Agbesi Woyome play

Businessman, Alfred Agbesi Woyome

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Pressure group Occupy Ghana has commended the Attorney-General's Department latest efforts to retrieve GH¢51.2 million judgement debt paid to business man Alfred Agbesi Woyome by the state.

The AG's Department has applied to the court to order the oral examination of Mr Woyome's assets for failure to pay judgment debt owed to Ghana and the apparent non-availability of any assets against which the judgment may be executed.

Alfred Woyome walked out of the premises of the Court of Appeal a free man after the court exonerated him from the charge of causing financial loss to the state in the controversial GH¢51.2 million judgement debt paid to him by the state.

Read more: AG begins moves to take over Woyome's house

He escaped prison for the second time in a year after the court, in a unanimous decision, declined to grant the state’s prayer for the overturn of his acquittal and discharge granted by the High Court on March 12, 2015.

The state later filed an application at the Supreme Court seeking direction to enforce the order to compel Mr Woyome to refund the money.

In a statement Tuesday, Occupy Ghana stated that “the step that the Attorney-General has taken is based on the procedural rule that if after judgment, a debtor does not pay immediately, the creditor may apply to the court for an order that would bring the debtor before the court to be examined as to his means.

See also: Woyome stops officials from valuing his residence

“This step can be very effective because it is not only intended to be a mere examination of the debtor, but a cross-examination, and that of the severest kind, as to his means. Thus, a debtor would be compelled by the court to disclose where all of his assets are, and if they have been sold or paid out, how that happened. If the debtor does not disclose the assets or tells lies, he could be imprisoned for contempt or worse, tried and sentenced for perjury."

Below is the full statement

OCCUPYGHANA URGES ATTORNEY-GENERAL NOT TO DISCONTINUE ENFORCEMENT AGAINST WOYOME

"OccupyGhana is gratified to read press reports about the latest step finally taken by the Attorney-General’s Department to recover the GH¢51M owed to Ghana by Alfred Woyome.

This step was the application to the Court to order the oral examination of Woyome on his assets, because of his abject refusal or failure to pay the judgment debt owed to Ghana, and the apparent non-availability of any assets against which the judgment may be executed.

The step that the Attorney-General has taken is based on the procedural rule that if after judgment, a debtor does not pay immediately, the creditor may apply to the court for an order that would bring the debtor before the court to be examined as to his means.

More here: AG, UT contest over Woyome's properties

This step can be very effective because it is not only intended to be a mere examination of the debtor, but a cross-examination, and that of the severest kind, as to his means. Thus, a debtor would be compelled by the court to disclose where all of his assets are, and if they have been sold or paid out, how that happened. If the debtor does not disclose the assets or tells lies, he could be imprisoned for contempt or worse, tried and sentenced for perjury.

In this belated, yet brilliant move by the Attorney-General, Woyome would be compelled to testify, not only as to where his assets are, but also where and how he spent the GH¢51M that he received from Ghana, and whether any of those sums are available for execution.

To the extent that any persons benefitted from Ghana’s monies, they also stand the risk of being pursued by the Republic on an action in tracing, which would track and trace the monies into the hands of every recipient, and possibly recover the monies from them. We believe that for the people of Ghana, this will be an opportunity to discover exactly what happened to our monies that were wrongfully paid to Woyome, and to recover those monies.

Read related: Woyome freed again

We are aware that on 19th October 2016 the Supreme Court granted the order and set 10th November 2016 as the date when Woyome is to attend court for this all-important testimony on where his assets are, and possibly, how he spent the GH¢51M.

While expressing our satisfaction with the latest and drastic step, however belated it has been, we wish to notify the Attorney-General that we are monitoring this process and the execution of the court order very closely.

We believe that the Attorney-General is taking all of these steps, however belatedly, in a genuine attempt to recover the monies that Woyome still owes to Ghana. We also believe that this process will be followed through without fear or favour, or any delays or attempts to vacate the court order or discontinue this crucial enforcement step.

Yours in the service of occupying hearts and minds for God and Country."

Background

Woyome was paid GH¢51.2 million after he claimed he had incurred losses for financially engineering 1.1 billion Euros for the CAN 2008 tournament and other government projects.

However, the Auditor-General's report released in 2010 said the amount was paid illegally to him.

The report resulted in nationwide controversy, with operatives of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) who were in government during the CAN 2008 tournament claiming Woyome did no work to be paid that whopping sum of money.

The then Attorney-General, Mr Joe Ghartey, said Woyome was contracted to help in raising money for the construction of the stadia but he failed to meet the deadline.

The then NPP government, he said, had no choice but to abrogate the contract with Woyome.

In 2009, when the NPP had left office, Woyome went to court and claimed that his contract had illegally been terminated and demanded a judgement debt from government.

The Attorney-General in Prof. Mills administration, Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu, who failed to defend the state, rather negotiated with Woyome for him to reduce his demand on the government.

Woyome then requested for GH¢51.2 million.

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