Feature Article of Saturday, 4 February 2012
Columnist: Joy Online
His receipt of judgment debt of about 52 million cedis has been the main focus of public discussion consistently for more than two months now over which the Education Minister, Betty Mould Iddrisu who once was Attorney-General has resigned and which has contributed one way or the other to the removal recently of the Attorney-General.
There have been two demonstrations, one for and the other against him and yet more fallouts, some of which are still unfolding.
So who is the man, Alfred Agbesi Woyome?
An old student of Bishop Herman College, Mr. Woyome was born at Dabala in the Volta Region. His mates in school recall him as a very stern and disciplined fellow.
A very prosperous businessman, Mr. Woyome is famed for his generosity especially when it comes to sports. He is believed to have been the philanthropist who paid for planeloads of Ghanaian supporters to go to South Africa to cheer on the senior national football team, the Black Stars at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Mr. Woyome is said to have made a considerable amount of his wealth as a consultant to the deceased Libyan leader, Muammar Ghadafi in connection with the fallouts of the Lockerbie bombings.
He has a foundation named after him, Woyome Foundation for Africa which aims to bring relief to HIV/AIDS sufferers on the continent by offering them anti-retrovirals.
Famed South African jazz musician, Hugh Masakela is listed on the website of the foundation as a board member. On that same website he describes himself as someone with wide experience in international affairs and finance whose job as a consultant and a businessman has taken him round many African, European and other countries.
His background in finance explains his financial engineering role in the sourcing of funds for the construction of stadia for the African Cup of nations in Ghana in 2008, which has brought him the unprecedented attention and controversy currently.
Amongst the companies he owns is Anator Holdings, a group of companies with varied interests across various sectors and yet another group of companies, Stewise, with several subsidiaries including a shipping wing, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals and construction.
He is also the former Honorary Vice Consul of Austria to Ghana. Mr. Woyome has strong links to the NDC and is said to have contributed significantly, finance-wise, to the 2008 presidential bid of President Mills. He was also recently spotted at the NDC Parliamentary primaries at the Odododiodoo Constituency here in Accra.
Members of the NDC are however quick to also point out bouts of generosity to members of the NPP.
Mr. Woyome has meanwhile denied suggestions that the judgment debt was doled out to him as payback for his financial backing of the NDC in 2008.
More recently, Mr. Woyome has insisted whatever monies he received was for honest work and that he is being unfairly singled out for vilification if as much as 640 million cedis has been paid out as judgment debt and yet his 52 million has been the subject of public scrutiny.
In a private telephone conversation with Joy News he said he is a typical businessman in Africa who wants to test the law in relation to government-private sector relations. He says he believes the judiciary is under attack and he has decided to fight on the side of the law.
Social media is rife with talk about Woyome, what some have christened woyometrics, woyomisation, woyomisticy. These are some of the new words that trace their roots to, yes, Woyome. Here are a few.
Woyometically: The systematic process of Woyomization Woyometicable: A system that can easily be Woyomised Woyomized: To be overwhelmed with Woyomism Woyomee: Someone who has been Woyomised Woyomer: Someone who Woyomises people Woyomator: The brain behind a Woyomistic act Woyometre: An instrument used in measuring a Woyomistic act Woyomistic: A wicked act of Woyomism