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General News of Friday, 27 April 2012

Source: Daily Guide

Woyome, AG Fight Over GH¢500

The Attorney-General and Alfred Agbesi Woyome Monday engaged in a legal tussle over a GH¢500 cost awarded to the latter by an Accra Commercial Court.

Dorothy Afriyie Ansah, a state attorney moved an application for a review of the cost awarded against the state for its inability to commence the case in which it was contesting with Woyome to reclaim a judgment debt of GH¢51,283,480.59 paid to him.

However counsel for Woyome led by Osarfo Buabeng, challenged the High Court’s jurisdiction to hear the application while there is an appeal pending on the issue.

The lawyer argued that by the rules of the court when an appeal is filed the High Court has to transmit record of proceedings to the court of Appeal to determine the matter.

In view of that when there is an application while the appeal is pending; it is the Appellate court that has the jurisdiction to hear the matter and not the high court.

The state attorney who also based her argument on order 42 (rule 2) argued that the parties do not have the same common grounds in the appeal since the state was challenging the appeal. According to her, the judge under this order could go ahead to review the cost.

Arguing further, Osarfo Buabeng notified the court that it was even wrong for the state to have brought her application under the said order indicating the appropriate one should rather be order 74 rule 12 because it is the proper order that deals with review of cost in civil matters.

Justice Ackah-Yensu after listening to the submissions adjourned the matter to April 30 for ruling.

On the substantive issue in which the AG is expected to bring in witnesses to prove that Woyome defrauded the state by obtaining the said judgment debt, the court adjourned the matter to May 15 expecting that the court of appeal would have determined Woyome’s appeal for a fair trial to commence.

On February 29, 2012 the court granted the AG the opportunity to amend its writ seeking to challenge the payment of GH¢51.2 million made to Woyome, the self styled NDC financier and awarded a GH¢2000 cost against the state in the interest of justice for the undue delay by the AG in its decision to amend the writ.

The judge granted the AG’s motion to determine issues of fraud leveled against Woyome as requested by the state.

However on the date state for trial to begin Senior State Attorney, Grace Ewoo informed the court she could not start hearing because her witnesses were not ready and sought for adjournment.

Justice Ackah-Yensu who was not pleased with the conduct of the AG further awarded cost of GH¢500 against the state and warned that if on the next adjourned date the state does not begin with the trial she will take the necessary action.

Woyome, who was dissatisfied with the ruling for the AG to amend its writ to contest the consented judgment, filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal challenging the decision of the High Court.

In addition, Woyome filed for a stay of proceedings to restrain the lower court from hearing the matter between him and the AG till final determination of the appeal.

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