General News of Saturday, 21 October 2017

Source: dailyguideafrica.com

Woyome bounced; court okays assets valuation

The Supreme Court has dismissed two motions filed by embattled businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome against the state in connection with his GH¢51.2 million indebtedness to the nation.

Lawyers for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) financier had filed two fresh motions at the court in an attempt to delay the payment of the huge money fraudulently paid to him by the erstwhile NDC government as judgement debt.

One of the motions sought to declare the order by the Attorney General (AG) and Minister for Justice to evaluate the businessman’s properties as ‘unlawful,’ while the other was seeking to stop the oral examination proceedings at the court.

According to the lawyers, the writ of execution used by the state to conduct the evaluation was unlawfully obtained as the first one did not expire, yet the state managed to get it renewed.

But the Supreme Court, presided over by Justice A A Benin, ruled that both applications lacked merit since a panel of three judges had already thrown out a stay of execution filed by Woyome to halt the oral examination at the court.

With regards to the second motion, which was challenging the legality of the writ of execution being used to evaluate the NDC financier’s properties, the court ruled that the state did nothing wrong in using the first writ in its evaluation.

This is because once the execution writ, which was obtained on January 9, 2015, had started, there was no need for it to be renewed, hence the argument by Woyome’s lawyers lacked the grounds to challenge it (writ).

According to Justice Benin, the second writ, which was obtained on January 6, 2016 – and was the bone of contention – had referenced the first one, thereby had no effect on the general evaluation process.

The court therefore threw out both applications.

Oral Examination

The court has adjourned sitting to October 30, 2017 when the Deputy Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, will continue with the oral examination initiated against Woyome by the state.

In July this year, Mr. Dame began an inquiry into sources of income and assets of the businessman in order to recover the money paid to him.

The NDC financier failed to show up in court at the last sitting and his lawyers cited ill health for his absence.

He was once again not in court when it threw out the two motions.

Properties

Meanwhile, the Deputy Attorney General has indicated that the state would leave no stone unturned in recovering or identifying all the assets owned by Mr. Woyome in an effort to recover the money.

He said the state is still making the necessary enquiries and searches to identify all the properties owned by Mr Woyome; and once the relevant discoveries are made, the public will hear about them.

It would be recalled that the Supreme Court had placed an embargo on the shares owned by the businessman in 11 companies, following his indebtedness to the state.

The court had also given the state the order to evaluate five of Woyome’s properties, including those at Tesano, Trassaco, Kpehe – all in Accra – and one in the Volta Region.

Refund

Mr Woyome has so far refunded just GH¢4 million out of the GH¢51.2 million into state coffers.

Although he subsequently promised to pay the outstanding balance by quarterly installments of GH¢5 million from April 1, 2017, he is yet to deliver on that promise.