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General News of Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Source: classfmonline.com

Supreme Court, Justice Dotse violated my rights – Woyome

Businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome says the Supreme Court of Ghana did not give him a fair hearing and also violated his human rights in relation to the GHS51.2million judgement debt saga.

My Woyome opened his case at the African Court on Human & People’s Rights (ACHPR) on Tuesday, 8 May 2018, as he accused Supreme Court judge, Justice Jones Dotse of infringing on his rights.

Mr Woyome’s Counsel, Osafo Buabeng explained at the hearing at Arusha, Tanzania, that: “The case of the applicant is that his rights under the combined effect of articles 2, 3 and 7 of the African Charter have been violated by the decision of the Ghanaian Supreme Court delivered on the 29, July 2014.”

He continued: “Because the issue that came before the Supreme Court was a constitutional interpretation, so for the learned judge [Justice Dotse] to go beyond the constitutional interpretation and decide that the applicant had no contract with the government and, therefore, he had no case and had formed an alliance to ‘create loot and share’, was beyond what was before the business of the Supreme Court.”

“We contend that the applicant was not given a fair trial. Under Article 12 of the Ghanaian constitution, issues bordering on human rights are to be observed not only by the executive or the legislature but by the judiciary as well.

“We, therefore, find the Supreme Court cannot, in our contention, be said to have upheld the right of the applicant to a fair trial and was not impartial”.

Mr Woyome filed the case with ACHPR in January, 2017. The 11-member panel court had earlier unanimously ruled on 27 November 2017 to order the Republic of Ghana, in a Provisional Measure, to halt all actions against Mr. Woyome until the case before it is adjudicated.

The Republic of Ghana signed to the African Charter on Human & People’s Rights on 1 March 1989, and to the protocol to the African Charter on Human & People’s Rights on the establishment of an African Court on Human & People’s Right on 16 August 2005.

It deposited on 6 March 2011, a declaration under Article 34(6) of the Protocol, accepting the jurisdiction of the court to receive cases from individuals and Non-Governmental Organisations.



Background

Following the award of the right to host CAN 2008, invitation to tenderers to express interest in the procurement of goods, works and services was published on 6 January 2005. On the bidding process for the CAN 2008, deadlines and stiff conditions were set. The stadia were to be built on a ‘turn-key’ basis, which meant that the successful bidder should not only have the technical capacity to design and build the stadia, but also must be able to provide the funding for it. This, in effect, meant that by virtue of the terms of the invitation to bid, bidders were authorised or obliged to seek for funds.

At the time Ghana was declared HIPC and could not borrow, Mr Alfred Woyome led the Vamed/M-Powapak consortium to raise over a billion euros with a letter of support from Bank Austria, guaranteed by the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) of the of the World Bank, having spent about 18 million euros in the process. At the end of the 7-month long bidding process, the Vamed/M-Powapak consortium was adjudged the best and had won the bid. A report from the bidding committees was submitted to the Central Tender Review Board (CTRB), which gave their concurrent approval. At this stage, the international bidding was abrogated, which was a clear interference with the bidding process, governed by the Procurement Act.

Since 2005, after the cancellation of the bid, Mr. Woyome has pursued the government of Ghana for compensation for successfully raising 1,106,470,587.48 euros from Bank Austria for the construction of stadia, medical facilities, irradiation plant and tissue culture facilities ahead of the CAN 2008.

In 2010, Mr. Woyome brought a suit against the Attorney General. By his writ of summons and statement of claim, Mr Woyome sought the following:

a. An order for the payment of 44,259,009.48 euros or its cedi equivalent at the forex exchange rate representing cost of services rendered by him for the Government of Ghana.

b. An order for the payment of 11,600,289.44 euros being accrued interest on the sum of 44,259,009.48 euros from September 2005 up to April, 2010 at the rate of Eurobar 1 year plus three points.

c. Interest on the sum of Euro 44,259,009.48 euros or its equivalent at the current exchange rate of Eurobar 1 year plus three points from May 1, 2010 up to the conclusive date of final payment.

d. Costs, including lawyer’s fees.

The court entered judgment for Mr. Woyome, upon which he filed an entry of judgment for the sum of GHS 105,565,548.24 consisting of the following:

a. The cedi equivalent of 44,259,009.48 euros – GHS 83,622,961.38

b. The cedi equivalent of interest of 11,600,289.44 euros – GHS 21,917,586.86

c. Cost of GHS 25,000

The Attorney General, thereafter, resorted to negotiations and negotiated with Mr. Alfred Woyome to accept judgment in the total sum of GHS 51,283,480.59 (GHS 41,811,480.59 plus interest of GHS 9,447,000.00 and a cost of GHS 25,000) payable in three tranches.

Upon payment of part of the said amount, he was accused of fraudulently obtaining the money from the state. The case was filed at the High Court with two charges: defrauding by false pretence and causing financial loss to the state. He won the case against the state for these charges at the High Court of Accra.

“The trial judge after going through the evidence placed before him found the respondent [Mr. Woyome] not guilty of the offence of defrauding by false pretences and acquitted him accordingly. He did likewise in respect of the offence of causing financial loss to the state. We would understand and assess the trial judge's conclusion better if we acquaint ourselves, even if in brief, with the evidence that was placed before him.”

The first witness of the prosecution was Mangowa Ghanney. She told the court that somewhere around March 2010 a letter from the Attorney General's department was referred to her by her boss, the Minister of Finance, Dr Kwabena Duffour at the time, for payment of two per cent of a settlement amount of 22 million Euros to the respondent [Mr. Woyome]. The letter, [exhibit 2], gave justification for the payment.”

The next witness of the prosecution was Mr. [Hon.] Yaw Osafo Maafo, who was at the time of the instant case, the Minister of Education & Sports and, therefore, had a lot to do with the CAN 2008. He narrated to the court the tendering processes for the construction of the stadia for the tournament and who won the bid. The tender [according to him] was won by Vamed led by the respondent [Mr. Woyome].”

“Witness told the court that the financial and technical committees, which worked on the tender recommended Vamed/M-Powapak [consortium] as the most responsive and their documentation was sent to the Central Tender Review Board [CTRB] and given concurrent approval. This tendering process was, however, truncated by cabinet. After the termination, the state had to go through sole-sourcing for the award of contract for the construction of the stadia. The witness also admitted there was a Letter of Support from Bank Austria, which formed part of the financial proposals of M-powapak/Vamed, and that, his entity, Tender Committee and the Central Tender Board approved Vamed/M-Powapak for the job. He, however, said as of the time of the cancellation, no official contract was signed between the parties.”

The government, not satisfied with the High Court’s ruling, filed a case at the Court of Appeal, but Mr. Woyome won again. The case was then brought before the Supreme Court, the highest court of the land. The Supreme Court ruled that the payment to Mr. Woyome was unconstitutional and that he should refund the money to the state. Mr. Woyome believed the Supreme Court erred in its ruling, but paid part of the money to the state under duress in obedience to the Supreme Court’s order until he brought the case before the African Court.

Alfred Agbesi Woyome is a businessman, philanthropist and a retired diplomat. He was a Security Intelligence Consultant with the late Muammar Al Gadaffi of Libya for over a decade before returning to Ghana to work as the Honorary Vice Consul for the government of Austria in Accra.