General News of Saturday, 23 June 2012

Source: myjoyonline

Woyome payment was legitimate - Lawyer

Defence counsel in the controversial Alfred Woyome judgement debt trial has tendered in evidence a letter written by the director of legal affairs at the Ministry of Finance, Paul Asimenu, which sought to exonerate Woyome from charges of causing financial loss and defrauding by false pretense.

The letter, in part, summarized why Alfred Woyome was deserving of the ¢51 million paid him by the state.

It was also to challenge claims by the first prosecution witness, Mangowa Ghanney who had testified that Alfred Woyome was paid without a contract.

Joy News’ Sammy Darko who was in court Friday, reported that Ghanney in a cross examination was made to read to the hearing of the court paragraphs of the said letter which spelt out that the payment to Woyome was legitimate.

Having read the letter, defence lawyer Safo Buabeng then pushed the witness if she still stood by her earlier testimony that Woyome was paid based on a default judgement and without a contract.

Mangowa Ghanney affirmed her earlier position that Woyome was paid based on a default judgement, insisting she could not say whether or not Woyome was paid legitimately because she did not author the letter tendered in as evidence.

According to Darko, the tendering of the letter was not without controversy as the prosecution raised an objection, arguing that Paul Asimenu who is said to have authored the letter is alive and could appear in court in person to verify the authenticity of the letter.

Paul Asimenu, was previously arrested and charged with conspiracy to defraud the state over the same case but was discharged.

After a brief recess, the sitting judge overruled the objection by the prosecution and allowed the letter to be tendered in evidence.

The Prosecution Witness was also made to produce to the court a memo she wrote notifying the Finance Minister about a letter directing the Ministry to pay Woyome the amount of GH¢51 million.

The letter came from the then Attorney General, Betty Mould Iddrisu ordering the release of the said amount.

The memo, according to Darko was minuted and had three different signatories - the Finance Minister, Dr Kwabena Duffuor; the Director of Legal Affairs Paul Asimenu; as well as the budget officer.

However, the signature of the Finance Minister was cancelled, Darko reported.

Mangowa Ghanney explained that the particular memo was only administrative procedure she followed.

She was discharged as witness and the case adjourned to July 3 and 4, 2012.