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General News of Thursday, 17 October 2019


Woyome Bankrupt; Supreme Court slams final hammer in GH¢46m debt

Another attempt by embattled businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome to stop the state from selling his properties to offset his GH¢46 million debt has hit the snag, as the Supreme Court yesterday dismissed his application for stay of execution.

He filed the application pleading with the court to put on hold the sale of two of his mansions, claiming that he was determined to pay the money if the execution of the court order was stayed.

His application emanated from the Supreme Court’s order secured by the state allowing it to go ahead and sell the identified properties to offset the GH¢51.2 million he fraudulently received as judgement debt in 2011.

In July this year, his lawyers filed the application to stay the execution of the order, with the promise that they were committed to paying GH¢10 million and paying GH¢4 million every 90 days if the execution order was suspended.

Woyome Bankrupt

Moving the application yesterday, his lawyer, Muda Ade Lawal, pleaded with the court to stay the execution, saying if the properties were sold Woyome would go bankrupt.

He said if the execution was stayed, they were willing to pay GH¢10 million immediately and pay GH¢4 million every nine months.

He told the court that selling the properties would put Woyome in a difficult situation, as he depends on the rent he gets from the properties that are about to be auctioned by the state.

“If the execution of the judgment is levied on us, we are sure to go bankrupt,” the counsel pleaded with the court.

Dame Response

The application was, however, opposed by the Deputy Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, who argued that if Woyome was willing to pay the money, he would pay the GH¢10 million instead of filing an application for stay of execution.

He said this is not the first time Woyome had promised to pay GH¢4.5 million every three months but had refused to pay even a penny.

He said taking into consideration the profit that had accrued on the debt, it would take Woyome well over four years to finish paying the money based on the payment plan proposal he made in his application.

Mr. Dame added that the state had laid hands on ‘certain’ properties of Woyome and was on the verge of selling them off while others are being identified; he, therefore, asked the court to dismiss the application.

Judges’ Concern

The panel of judges hearing the matter expressed concern about the delay in paying the money since the order was given by the court for Woyome to refund the money.

Justice Paul Baffoe-Bonnie recalled how other lawyers came to the Supreme Court and pledged to have Woyome pay the money in instalment but the commitment was not met saying “all we heard was that you went to a different court.”

Justice Sule Gbadegbe told the lawyer that if they want to pay the money in instalment, the way forward was not to challenge the judgement but rather come before the court to explain that due to certain circumstances they are unable to pay the money at a go.

Final Ruling

The panel presided over by Justice Baffoe-Bonnie and assisted by Justices Sule Gbadegbe, Alfred Benin, Samuel Marful-Sau and Agnes Dordzie dismissed the application as ‘unmeritorious’.

The court said that was not the first time Woyome had made the commitment to pay the money in instalment and the application showed that it would take him more than four years to pay the entire amount.

The panel held that it had been more than five years since the judgement for Woyome to refund the money with interest was delivered and it would be unfair to further delay the payment.

New Property

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has adopted the forced sale value of GH¢4.485 million valuation of another mansion belonging to Woyome located at Trasacco Valley in Accra.

This is the third property which has been valued and is about to be auctioned to the public, bringing the total amount to be realised from the sale of the mansions to GH¢27.885 million.