General News of Tuesday, 25 October 2016
Pressure group Occupy Ghana has lauded the latest efforts by the Attorney-General's Department to retrieve GHC51 million owed to Ghana by Alfred Woyome.
The AG's Department has applied to the court to order the oral examination of Mr Woyome's assets for failure to pay judgment debt owed to Ghana and the apparent non-availability of any assets against which the judgment may be executed.
The Supreme Court in 2014 ordered Mr Woyome to pay back GHC51 million fraudulently taken from the state after Mr Martin Amidu, a former Attorney General challenged the legality of judgment debts paid the businessman, Waterville, and Isofoton.
Following delays in retrieving the money, the Supreme Court judges unanimously granted the Attorney-General clearance to execute the court’s judgment ordering Mr Woyome to refund the cash to the state.
The nine-judge panel chaired by Chief Justice, Mrs Georgina Theodora Wood, warned that a higher crime could be committed if Mr Woyome refuses to refund the money.
The state later filed an application at the Supreme Court seeking direction to enforce the order to compel Mr Woyome to refund the money.
The Attorney-General, Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, was then granted the power to use any appropriate means to retrieve the money.
Mr Woyome, however, does not seem to agree with the A-G’s strategy to retrieve the cash.
However, in what many would call a shocking move by Occupy Ghana, which many perceive to be anti-government, the group issued a statement Tuesday saying, "The step that the Attorney-General has taken is based on the procedural rule that if after judgment, a debtor does not pay immediately, the creditor may apply to the court for an order that would bring the debtor before the court to be examined as to his means."
"In this belated, yet brilliant move by the Attorney-General, Woyome would be compelled to testify, not only as to where his assets are, but also where and how he spent the GH¢51M that he received from Ghana, and whether any of those sums are available for execution," the statement continued.
Below is the statement
OCCUPYGHANA URGES ATTORNEY-GENERAL NOT TO DISCONTINUE ENFORCEMENT AGAINST WOYOME
Occupy Ghana is gratified to read press reports about the latest step finally taken by the Attorney-General’s Department to recover the GH¢51M owed to Ghana by Alfred Woyome.
This step was the application to the Court to order the oral examination of Woyome on his assets, because of his abject refusal or failure to pay the judgment debt owed to Ghana, and the apparent non-availability of any assets against which the judgment may be executed.
The step that the Attorney-General has taken is based on the procedural rule that if after judgment, a debtor does not pay immediately, the creditor may apply to the court for an order that would bring the debtor before the court to be examined as to his means.
This step can be very effective because it is not only intended to be a mere examination of the debtor, but a cross-examination, and that of the severest kind, as to his means. Thus, a debtor would be compelled by the court to disclose where all of his assets are, and if they have been sold or paid out, how that happened. If the debtor does not disclose the assets or tells lies, he could be imprisoned for contempt or worse, tried and sentenced for perjury.
In this belated, yet brilliant move by the Attorney-General, Woyome would be compelled to testify, not only as to where his assets are, but also where and how he spent the GH¢51M that he received from Ghana, and whether any of those sums are available for execution.
To the extent that any persons benefitted from Ghana’s monies, they also stand the risk of being pursued by the Republic on an action in tracing, which would track and trace the monies into the hands of every recipient, and possibly recover the monies from them. We believe that for the people of Ghana, this will be an opportunity to discover exactly what happened to our monies that were wrongfully paid to Woyome, and to recover those monies.
We are aware that on 19th October 2016 the Supreme Court granted the order and set 10th November 2016 as the date when Woyome is to attend court for this all-important testimony on where his assets are, and possibly, how he spent the GH¢51M.
While expressing our satisfaction with the latest and drastic step, however belated it has been, we wish to notify the Attorney-General that we are monitoring this process and the execution of the court order very closely.
We believe that the Attorney-General is taking all of these steps, however belatedly, in a genuine attempt to recover the monies that Woyome still owes to Ghana. We also believe that this process will be followed through without fear or favour, or any delays or attempts to vacate the court order or discontinue this crucial enforcement step.
Yours in the service of occupying hearts and minds for God and Country.