You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2011 12 31Article 226750

Opinions of Saturday, 31 December 2011

Columnist: Anyan, Frederick

Mr. Woyome Finally Admits in a “New Twist”…

Kwame Sefa Kayi: …in what capacity did you sue the government of Ghana…you have said to me this morning that you did not have any contract with the government neither did you have a contract with VAMED nor Waterville…so how and in what capacity did you sue the state?
Alfred Woyome: …I had authorisation from the government for financial structuring…
Kwame Sefa Kayi:…did you have the power of attorney from Waterville?...
Alfred Agbesi Woyome…no, no it was not a power of attorney, I said Waterville transferred to me an “assignment of rights”…

This is a part transcription of the interview on 20/12/2011 between Kwame Sefa Kayi, the host of Peace FM’s award winning morning programme, Kokrokoo and the beleaguered Mr. Alfred Agbesi Woyome, a bankroller and financier of the ruling National Democratic Congress who has been besieged with innumerable debates in the media over the payment of about GH¢58 million reportedly to be claims of damages due to breach of contract. In the old Ghana cedi this amount is about GH¢ 580, 000, 000, 000, 00. For a population of 24 million in Ghana each individual could obtain a share of approximately old GH¢24, 166, 00 per head. This present loss if substantiated as such will stand out without a match as Ghana’s “biggest loss since independence” a claim by the New Patriotic Party.
To proceed I wish to state the categorical claims of Mr. Woyome;
1. He admits he had no contract with the government of Ghana
2. He admits he had no contract with Waterville Holdings (BVI) and VAMED
3. He admits his actions to sue the government of Ghana were premised on the transfer of “assignment of rights” from Waterville.
Now I wish to confess that I am a layperson and my reasoning is unencumbered upon one’s divergent position from mine and I wish to also confess that I am a layperson -borrowing from Arthur Kennedy -in the “wherefores”, “I put it to yous” and a bunch of Latin words.
Let us assume (without admitting) that indeed the said “assignment of rights” was legitimately transferred to Mr. Alfred Agbesi Woyome by Waterville Holdings (BVI) as he now claims in defense; a claim to which I literally have plucked all my hair by scratching my head in an attempt to fathom. Could it be an attempt at damage control of the deteriorating reputation of Mr. Woyome which has gone viral?
In Contract Laws “assignment of rights” is understood to be a complete transfer of rights held by one party - the assignor (herein referred to as Waterville Holdings, BVI) - to another party - the assignee (herein referred to as Mr. Woyome) to receive the benefits and gains accruing from a specific contract. The party who owes to the services of the assignor by contract or legal agreement is the obligor (herein referred to as The Government of Ghana). In assignment of rights the assignee does not become a third party beneficiary since the contract was not originally in purpose for the benefits of the assignee but for the benefits of the assignor, so that the assignor is the “true” beneficiary of the contract.
Firstly, unless there is an explicit prohibition against the transfer of “assignment of rights” in the contract, “assignment of rights” can be permitted. Nonetheless, a contract may contain a non-assignment clause, which prohibits the assignment of specific rights, or of the entire contract, to another.
What every Ghanaian who could obtain a share of approximately old GH¢24, 166, 00 from the money doled out to Mr. Woyome needs to know is that whether the contract between the government of Ghana and Waterville Holdings (BVI) which was abrogated on 1 Augst, 2006 permitted “assignment of rights” or not http://media.myjoyonline.com/docs/201112/Waterville.pdf . If the contract terms did not permit “assignment of rights” how then could Mr. Woyome obtain the transfer of “assignment of rights” from Waterville Holdings (BVI) as he now claims? And did the assignor (Waterville Holdings) notify the obligor (Government of Ghana) of the said transfer before it was effected since by law that is what is supposed to be done, if indeed there was any such transfer?
Well, what is good to know is that a non-assignment clause in a contract enables a party to sue for breach if such assignment is made. If there was not any such permission as “assignment of rights” in the contract between Government of Ghana and Waterville Holdings (BVI) then it is the Government of Ghana which should sue Waterville Holdings (BVI) for transferring “assignment of rights” to Mr. Alfred Agbesi Woyome as he claims. I refrain from being too quick to speculate that Waterville Holdings (BVI) would be concerned to know this and to hear the claims of Mr Alfred Agbesi Woyome. That is, if there was no “assignment of rights” to Mr. Woyome.
It is important to understand that a promise to make a transfer of “assignment of rights” in the future has no legal implications and therefore is void of any legal binding. Perhaps Waterville Holdings (BVI) might have promised a transfer of “assignment of rights” to Mr Woyome. This is because Mr Mpaini, the former Chief of Staff of the erstwhile President Kuffuor’s administration has stated categorically that Mr Alfred Agbesi Woyome was not known to the contract between Government of Ghana and Waterville Holdings (BVI) News File Audio On Demand | Myjoyonline.com | Joy 99.7 FM until now that Mr Woyome has shown up. So that if Waterville Holdings (BVI) only promised to make a transfer of “assignment of rights” to Mr. Woyome in the future which did not materialise, then Mr. Woyome cannot sue the Government of Ghana in that capacity. Again, what every Ghanaian who could obtain a share of approximately old GH¢24, 166, 00 from the money doled out to Mr. Woyome need to know is whether the assignment of rights was actually transferred or promised.
On another score, because Mr. Woyome claims to stand in the shoes of the assignor (Waterville Holdings, BVI), in the course of execution of the project if he perceived any breach on the part of the obligor (Government of Ghana) he could legitimately sue Government of Ghana, because he holds the exclusive right by virtue of the “assignment of rights” from Waterville Holdings (BVI) to commence a cause of action for any failure to perform if it can be proven that the failure is a consequence of the actions and inactions of the Government of Ghana. And also, because Mr. Woyome by his claims stands in the shoes of the Waterville Holdings (BVI), the Government of Ghana through the office of the Attorney General could raise any defense against the suit filed by Mr. Woyome concerning the fallout of the excesses of the contract, which defense the Government of Ghana could have originally raised against Waterville Holdings (BVI). Furthermore, the Attorney Genral could raise against Mr. Woyome counterclaims and setoffs that the Government of Ghana had against Waterville Holdings (BVI). What is difficult to comprehend at this stage is that, did the Attorney General know that if indeed there were problems with the abrogation of the contract (which Mr. Woyome by his claims as the assignee could only rely on to file the suit), the Attorney General could or could not have a case to raise counterclaims and setoffs? And if so, why did the Attorney General conceded that the state had no case and therefore refrained from filing a defense in the first place? Is it the Attorney General who determines if Government of Ghana has a case or not? What then is the authority of the court? Let me ask anyone, should you be charged for a crime to which you are aware of a possible plead for judgement for instance you can plead for 2 years instead of 5 years, will you sit and say you have no case so you should be given 5 years? I believe the Attorney General at the time, the now Minister for Education, Hon. Betty Mould-Idrissu was and is a competent lawyer and should have known this. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse, anyways.
Finally, when the “assignment of rights” is transferred, it is made with an implied warranty which implies that the right to assign is not subject to defences between the assignor and the assignee because the assignor cannot also reclaim the “assignment of rights” once transferred. However, if the contract had a provision that made the assignment ineffective and illegitimate, the assignee could sue the assignor for breach of this implied warranty. If Mr Woyome finds that the “assignment of rights” implied a wrongful outcome in the dealings with his part of the contract execution, should he sue the obligor (Government of Ghana) or the assignor (Waterville Holdings, BVI)? Mr Woyome should have rather been advised to sue Waterville Holdings (BVI) given that his claims in the said manner as outlined are not untrue. Consequently, Mr. Woyome could have also filed a suit under this theory if Waterville Holdings (BVI) had unduly and illegitimately revoked the “assignment of rights” transferred him.
Conclusively, my few questions in this entire brouhaha are that:
• Did the contract between Government of Ghana and Waterville Holdings (BVI) permit the “assignment of rights” to an assignee?
• Did Mr Woyome obtain the transfer of “assignment of rights” from Waterville Holdings (BVI) as he claims?
• And did the assignor (Waterville Holdings) notify the obligor (Government of Ghana) of the said transfer before it was effected.
• Whether the assignment of rights was actually transferred by Waterville Holdings (BVI) to Mr. Alfred Agbesi Woyome or it was promised.
• Couldn’t the Government of Ghana through the Attorney General’s office sue Waterville Holdings (BVI) if the latter breached a non-assignment clause, if it was found out that there was one?’
• Why did the Attorney General refused to defend the Government of Ghana?
• Why did Mr. Woyome sue the government of Ghana and not his assignor Waterville Holdings (BVI) if he thought there were provisions in the “assignment of rights” which was wrongfully affected by the contract being abrogated?
My humbly proposals are that since the money totalling GH¢ 58, 000, 000, 00 was hurriedly doled out to Mr. Woyome in disregard to the court’s order to pay GH¢ 17, 000, 000, 00 and stay execution until a further determination of the case, but was instead paid the former with accrued interest. If it is consequently ascertained that the money was wrongfully claimed:
• All parties found culpable should face the music squarely
• The money should be refunded with the accrued interest since payment.

Anyan Frederick
anyan4usall@yahoo.com