Feature Article of Thursday, 9 February 2012
Columnist: Hayford, Ebenezer
That the tax payer’s money has been used in paying judgment debts is, to say the least unacceptable. It is indeed disturbing to note, that over $ 640 million has over the years, been paid as judgment debts. The greater portion of this amount was paid during the eight years of Kufuor’s regime. The question is which people collected the $ 640 million and who paid this sum and who has to answer for the financial loss to the state?
While I hold the view that every pesewa of this amount has to be accounted for, I also think it is not fair for the opposition NPP to condemn and criminalize Alfred Woyome because they have a few crimes during Kufuor’s regime to hide. Since the last few months opposition friendly newspapers have carried publications with headings such as ‘Woyome criminalized’, ‘Woyome has no case’, ‘and Woyome dupes the state’, ‘woyome and conspiracy to siphon state funds’, ‘conspiracy to conceal criminality against Ghana’. While this controversy has become the center of attention at every level of Ghanaian society, the question yet to be answered is can someone be criminalized when a competent law court has not taken its decision?
Mr Woyome, as correctly noted, is a businessman and has business connections with the former NPP Government. During Kufuor’s rule, for reasons best known to him, he declared Ghana HIPC. Ghana was grouped among the highly indebted countries. This made it difficult for Kufuor’s Government to source International Funds. Meanwhile Ghana had won the bid to organize the CAN 2008. There was no way Kufuor could source money for his “gargantuan” project. At one point in time large sums of money were borrowed from Barclays Bank; an action which nearly brought the Bank to collapse. During this period Woyome was the savior of NPP Government. He was sourcing money from Europe to make project CAN 2008 and other projects possible. Fortunately at that time they saw Alfred Woyome as a friend and a helper. Is that how to treat a friend when you know he has vital criminal documents the NPP Government has destroyed? Organized crime is usually associated with groups of persons operating in secret. For the first time, it looks as if we are scratching the surface of an ice berg which can possible bring many members of Kufuor’s Government behind bars.
The truth is that the law allows every lead person of a company a percentage claim for the job he or she does. For instance, the person who brought TULLOW to discover oil in Ghana has his percentage claim. So is it that during the “hot days” when Kufuor needed money badly the lead person for VAMED who is Woyome should naturally claim his percentage. It is true Woyome had no contract with the Ghana Government, he was however the lead person for the company which had a contract with the government. In these systematics, it is important to note that Mr Woyome has his own company. When WAMED realizing that Kufour had gone to China to contract a Chinese company leading to the abrogation of his contract, decided to withdraw and transfer the stadia project to the company of Mr Woyome. With this background, it is difficult to understand why people talk of fraudulent deal.
It is interesting to note that Woyome who is in possession of confidential memos of the NPP is yet to talk. We have to brace ourselves for a long journey with “Kufuor Government’s saga”.
Dr. Ebenezer Hayford
University of Ghana