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General News of Thursday, 17 October 2019

Source: dailyguidenetwork.com

Martin Amidu, AG clash over €47m Waterville debt

Special Prosecutor Martin A.B.K. Amidu and Deputy Attorney General Godfred Yeboah were yesterday caught in crossfire over efforts to enforce a Supreme Court order that says it should retrieve 47 million Euros fraudulently paid to Waterville Holdings (BVI) Limited — a company belonging to businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome and others.

While Mr. Amidu blames the Office of the Attorney General for ‘dragging’ its feet in retrieving the 47 million Euros, the Deputy Attorney General (AG) in turn accused the Special Prosecutor over his refusal to supply the AG with confidential documents that would help them trace the company to retrieve the judgment debt.

Mr. Amidu has consistently stated that he has information that could help the AG trace the company to retrieve the money but said it would be suicidal to hand over the information to the AG.

Main Suit

He filed a suit at the Supreme Court in September asking the court to ‘compel the AG to enforce an order and retrieve the money wrongfully paid to the company’.

According to the suit, unless the court ‘compels’ the AG to enforce the order and also Woyme’s company is ordered to comply and pay the full amount of debt, the labour and expenses exerted by him as the plaintiff on behalf of Ghanaians would go in vain.

47m Debt

The Supreme Court on June 14, 2013 ordered Waterville Holdings (BVI) Ltd to refund all monies paid to it by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government as judgment debt over the termination of an ‘illegally’ awarded contract for rehabilitation works on the Accra Sports Stadium for the AFCON 2008 hosted by Ghana.

The Office of the AG under the John Mahama administration was, however, reluctant to retrieve the debt and subsequently delayed the processes of seeking direction from the court regarding the enforcement of the orders.

International Court

Woyome then instituted an action at the International Court of Arbitration against the Government of Ghana, challenging the decision of the Supreme Court for his company to refund the money.

Mr. Amidu then went to the Supreme Court in September seeking an order for the AG to enforce the original order for Woyome to refund the full amount of €47,365,624.00 (excluding interest thereon).

According to him, it has been more than a year since the Arbitration Tribunal brought the arbitration proceedings to an end and although the ruling is in favour of Ghana, the Supreme Court’s orders are yet to be enforced.

Hot Exchanges

Appearing before the court yesterday, he told the court that he commenced the action to ensure that the orders of the court were enforced.

He claimed to have information on Waterville Holdings, saying he had confronted the government about how to retrieve the money but nothing seems to have happened.

He said it had been several years since the judgment was entered in favour of the state and that he was before the court to assist it to ensure that the judgment is enforced so that the people of Ghana will have the benefit of the judgment.

Dame Argument

Mr. Dame opposed the application saying it was ‘laden’ with procedural improprieties and urged the court to dismiss it.

He said although Mr. Amidu claims to have approached the government, at no point did he write to the AG who is charged with the responsibility to retrieve the money.

According to him, the AG was having difficulty in locating and identifying the assets of Waterville Holdings in Europe, if any.

He told the court that Mr. Amidu, who seems to have information about the company, was unwilling to churn out the information, “even this morning I asked him for the information but he said he would not give it to me.”

Judges

The panel of judges raised concerns about the nature of applications filed by Mr. Amidu, as they were not clear as to what he was seeking.

Justice Sule Gbadegbe noted that once an order is made by a court, the order becomes binding and there is no need for a further order to enforce the previous one.

Justice Paul Baffoe-Bonnie also stated that the order of the court was that the money was illegally paid to Waterville hence it had to refund the money which meant that the AG was directed to retrieve the money and as a result, there is no need for another order.

Important Question

He asked Mr. Amidu why he would not cooperate with the AG with the information at his disposal so that together they can trace the company and ensure the money was retrieved.

Mr. Amidu initially said it would be “suicidal to do so” but later prayed for some time to consult the AG so they could see how they would use the information he has to trace the company.

The court presided over by Justice Paul Baffoe-Bonnie and assisted by Justices Sule Gbadegbe, Alfred Benin, Samuel Marful-Sau and Agnes Dordzie gave Mr. Amidu and the AG three weeks to do so.