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Crime & Punishment of Saturday, 13 October 2012

Source: radioxyzonline.com

Court awards GH¢500 against EOCO in Woyome trial

The Court of Appeal in Accra has ordered the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) to pay a sum of Gh¢500 as cost to Mr. Alfred Agbesi Woyome over their failure to enter into a defense in a case over the freezing of his assets.

Mr. Biadella Mortey Akpadzi, Executive Director of EOCO and his lawyers received the order on Tuesday over their inability to open up their defense in court after they deliberately allowed time to elapse, making the work of the Appeals Court more cumbersome.

Mr. Alfred Agbesi Woyome, former Vice Consul for Austria and a businessman had been in court since February this year, seeking EOCO to defreeze all the bank accounts and financial assets which his lawyers say was illegally confiscated on the back of an exparte ruling by a judge of the financial court, over the payment of GH¢51,283,480 million, as judgment debt to him by the state.

The judges of the Appeals Court argued and awarded the cost on behalf of Mr. Woyome due to EOCO’s inability to present their case in defense of the submission brought against them by Mr. Woyome.

The judges could not fathom why Mr. Akpadzi and the EOCO could document and wrongfully refer to Alfred Agbesi Woyome as ALBERT Woyome. It took the orders from the judges to get EOCO to effect the change of name on the docket and sign by it before it was considered.

Mr. Justice Bright Mensah, the presiding judge of the financial court had earlier in January this year, granted an order to EOCO to freeze Woyome’s accounts at the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), and freeze all his financial assets and other bank accounts.

Mr. Woyome is currently facing trial for misrepresenting documentations to get the government to pay him GH¢51, 283,480.59, thereby willfully and fraudulently causing financial loss to the state.

Background

Sometime in January 2005, the Government invited bids for the rehabilitation of Ohene Djan and Baba Yara Sports stadia and the construction of two more stadia at Sekondi-Takoradi and Tamale.

At the end of the bidding process, some companies were short-listed and invited to submit proposals for the projects and among them were M-powapak/Vamed Engineering Gmbh &Co, KG.

At the end of the evaluation process, the Finance and Evaluation Committee declared the financial proposals of M- POWPAK /Vamed Engineering as the most responsive and recommended them to the Central Tender Review Board.

The Central Tender Review Board reportedly gave its concurrent approval on 5th August 2005, signed by Madam Effie Ekuban Simpson and addressed to the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, in favour of M-POWPAK/Vamed.

Mr. Woyome’s claim to government of Ghana was for services and professional fees rendered as well as the actual cost incurred to arrange €1,106,470,587 for the Government of Ghana through Bank Austria for the construction of stadia and its allied projects, out of which he was entitled to four per cent as financial engineering fees.

It would be recalled that the judgment obtained by Mr. Woyome was over GH¢105,565,548.24 million which was negotiated by Government Of Ghana with Mr. Woyome downwards to GH¢51,283,480 million, when Mr. Woyome voluntarily agreed and gave out GH¢54,282,068.24 million, representing his profits and interest to GOG.

The GH¢51,283,480 million according to the negotiation was Mr. Woyome’s cost in arranging the €1,106,470,587. The Government Of Ghana and Mr. Woyome later entered into an agreement signed by the Attorney General on behalf of Government of Ghana, and Mr. Woyome. The agreement was later entered as a Consent Judgment in the Commercial Court.

In 2010, the Government Of Ghana went back to court after it failed to pay the first tranche of monies (GH¢17,094,493.54million) out of the GH¢51,283,480 million. Again, judgment was entered in favour of Mr. Woyome and GoG was ordered to pay the first tranche, which was later transferred from the Bank of Ghana to his account in the Agricultural Development Bank. Sometime in 2011, Government of Ghana by a court order from a pre-trial conference paid the rest of the tranches, bringing the total to GH¢51,283,480 million and refused to pay the accrued interest which is still before the commercial court.

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