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General News of Sunday, 29 July 2018

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

We sometimes act erroneously as appointees, we are human - Betty Mould-Iddrisu

An Attorney General during the Mills administration, Betty Mould-Iddrisu has opened up about the actions of government on issues that caused public outrage.

Betty Mould-Iddrisu admits the government sometimes acted erroneously and made mistakes in the manner it handled some issues that came up during her time as Attorney General under the Mills administration.

Such errors, she was quick to add, were not criminally or fraudulently wrong but errors committed because they are human.

Speaking to Kwabena Kyenkyenhene Boateng, host of '21minutes with KKB', Betty Mould Iddrisu clarified that though there were errors made, at no point did she or the government act unprofessionally in those instances.

Betty Mould-Iddrisu who doubles as Vice Chairman of main opposition party NDC held the view that the bashing she received for her actions when in government were partially because she was a 'woman at the very top'

"I think it is one of the hazards of politics, it's one of the hazards of putting yourself out there and it is one of the hazards unfortunately of being a woman at the very top. Sometimes you can't see that they are sharpening the knives for you, sometimes also we were wrong in some of our actions, erroneously wrong, not criminally wrong or fraudulently wrong but erroneously wrong. We are humans, we make mistakes" she disclosed on 21minutes with KKB.



The former Attorney General insisted that at no point did she doubt her actions and believe everything she did had legal backing and her conduct was professional.

Betty Mould-Iddrisu emphasised she was competent to know what to do and readily took responsibility for her actions refusing to admit she was misled at any point in time.

"I think I am competent to know and to take responsibility for my own actions within a certain context. I don't have a problem with that"

"It is only the good Lord who can judge our actions, that at a certain point in time, we acted professionally, we acted in accordance with the law, we acted competently. There was never a day, never one day of doubt in my mind that I was not doing the right thing" she stated expressing doubt whether she would take same actions she took in government with benefit of hindsight.

Betty Mould-Iddrisu stressed that though people may find it difficult to accept, the Woyome issue has never been about the money in her view but about doing the right thing.

She was convinced that her actions were not triable adding that she has never been on trial in relation to the Woyome scandal that is still being battled in Court.



To buttress her point, the Vice Chairperson of opposition NDC referred to a judgement on the issue by three Appeals Court Judges insisting she was cleared of any wrongdoing because she conducted herself professionally and diligently

"You know I wasn't Attorney General when he was paid the bulk of the money and for me, it wasn't about the money difficult though it may seem in people's eyes. It was about the principle of doing the right thing and I am always glad, I always tell people that there is a God, a just God especially when you are a lawyer, you can be cleared through the Court system. I was not on trial, I was never on trial. I don't think that my actions were triable" she opined.

She averred, "In the end, when the Court of Appeal, the 3 Appeals Cout Judges gave a verdict on whether this money was procured fraudulently and my role in the issue came up, they all insisted Betty Mould-Iddrisu as Attorney General acted professionally, she acted competently, she followed due diligence and that was it. She exercised her official actions as a lawyer and as an Attorney General and that is what you need. And that is the kind of validation that quite frankly some of your media folks were making me doubt myself"

Background

Graphic reported that Mr Woyome sued the state for a breach of contract relating to the construction of some stadia for the 2008 African Cup of Nations hosted by Ghana and was awarded a default judgement to a tune of Gh¢51 million because the state failed to put in a defence.

He was arrested on February 3, 2011 after the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), which was commissioned by President John Evans Atta Mills to investigate the matter, had implicated him of wrongdoing.



According to Mr Woyome’s statement of claim on March 31, 2010, the then Attorney General, Betty Mould Iddrisu, wrote to request payment as she informed the Finance Minister then, Kwabena Duffuor that Woyome was claiming two per cent compensation fee for financial engineering on the mobilisation of funds for the CAN Project and that she had reached a settlement with him.

According to paragraph 17 of Woyome's statement of claim in court, the Finance Minister on April 6, 2010, wrote to the Controller and Accountant General requesting “the release of funds” to pay the claim of “Ghana cedi equivalent of €22,129,501.74.”

On May 28, 2010, Betty Mould wrote again to the Finance Minister after Kwabena Duffuor did not follow her instructions. She informed him that Woyome had sued and successfully obtained a default judgement of a total of Gh¢51,283,480.59, including interests and costs.

Paragraph 18 of the Woyome statement of claim in court stated that on April 7, 2010, the Controller and Accountant General issued a “Bank Transfer Advice… to the Director, Banking Department, Bank of Ghana”, requesting “for the release of funds to pay the sum of Gh¢41,811,480.59.”

A Chief State Attorney, Mr Samuel Nerquaye-Tetteh; his wife, Mrs Gifty Nerquaye-Tetteh, and the Director of the Legal Department of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Mr Paul Asimenu, suspected to have aided Woyome, were arrested. Mr Nerquaye-Tetteh was charged with conspiracy and corrupting a public officer.

Asimenu and Mrs Nerquaye-Tetteh were charged with abetment of crime. Woyome was alleged to have paid GH¢400,000 to the couple, but they and Mr Asimenu were, on June 5, 2012, freed, following the state’s declaration of a nolle prosequi.