General News of Friday, 21 March 2014
Minister of Justice and Attorney General Marrietta Brew Appiah-Oppong has downplayed suggestions that the State is having a tough time prosecuting Alfred Agbesi Woyome, the man at the centre of the 51 million judgment debt saga.
The State Monday failed to respond to the businessman’s claim of no case at the Financial Division of the Fast Track High Court in Accra.
Consequently, the court, presided over by Mr. Justice John Ajet-Nasam, directed the State to file its response to the businessman’s claim to enable him to rule on the application. A Chief State Attorney, Mr. Mathew Amponsah, apologized to the court for their inability to file their response to Woyome’s claim.
He said the submission of ‘no case’ came to them on March 3, 2014 and added that considering the work, they could not file the response within two weeks.
He, therefore, applied to the court for an extension of time to enable them (the State) to cover all the necessary grounds and file their response to Woyome’s claim. But counsel for Woyome, Musah Ahmed told the court that his client filed the submission on February 27, 2014.
He suggested to the court to oblige the State for the last time. Mr. Justice Ajet-Nasam then adjourned sitting to March 31, 2014 to enable the State to file its response.
The Minister, commenting for the first time on the issue in an interview with Ultimate Radio in Kumasi, sounded apologetic about her outfit’s inability to respond. She gave the assurance the State will respond but could not be specific about the time.
“I can’t say that it was right that we didn’t file the case. I know as lawyers we should have filed it but we did what we could to obtain the extension of time to make sure that comprehensive written submissions are filed in court properly.
Responding to suggestions that the Ministry appears to be under pressure to prosecute the matter at a certain spate due to the huge public interest, the Minister told Ultimate Radio’s Ebenezer Afanyi Dadzie they were not under any pressure. She also denied suggestions her office may be having a tough time prosecuting Mr. Woyome.
“We are not having it tough in prosecuting this case. In fact we have prosecuted and we have finished giving our evidence. We finished presenting the case of the state and they have filed a submission of no case. We will respond” she noted.
Facts of the case
State prosecutors say Mr Woyome, in February 2010, made a false representation that the government owed him two per cent of €1,106,470,587 for his services of financial engineering for the rehabilitation of the Kumasi, Accra and El-Wak stadia, ahead of the CAN 2008 African Cup of Nations.
At the hearing on November 6, 2013, the ninth prosecution witness told the court that responses from the Bank of Austria to two institutions in Ghana indicated that there was no agreement to provide funding for any project in Ghana.
The two institutions — the Police Administration and the Attorney-General’s Department — had written to the bank for responses on whether Mr. Woyome had any agreement with the bank to provide funding for projects in the country.
The witness, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Edward Odame Okyere, an investigator with the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service, said the bank also responded that there was no binding offer from it to fund projects in Ghana.