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Opinions of Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Columnist: Adortey, Winson A. V

Why Betty must come clean on Woyome judgment scandal

By Winson A. V Adortey

Mrs. Betty Mould-Iddrisu, the former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice under the late President, Professor John Evans Atta-Mills, must come clean on the controversial judgment debt payment to businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome, whom the High Court of Accra has set free after 3 years of criminal trials.

The acquittal and discharge of Alfred Woyome of any wrongdoing by the trial Judge, Justice John Ajet-Nasam of the controversial Judgement debt payment has provoked high profile personalities in the country, including our former President Jerry John Rawlings.

The former President, who is also the founder of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) is gone berserk over the ruling by the court that stated that due to poor defence put up by the Attorney General during the trial of the case in court he was unable to pronounce Mr. Woyome guilty of the two count of charges preferred against him.

"And in the instance case, I am of the considered opinion that the prosecution has failed woefully to prove beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of the accused person. I, therefore, acquit and discharge Alfred Agbesi Woyome on all charges brought against him.

The state failed to defend the action. It rather went to settlement of the case which led to the entry of judgement. I do not see any misrepresentation made to the court." The judge made this statement in reference to Alfred Woyome getting default judgment from the Commercial Court.

The former President who is astonished that the Court did not nail Woyome, the former Consular of Austria, has turned the guns on Betty Mould-Iddrisu, whose husband is Alhaji Iddrisu Mahama, former Minister of Defence and one of the trusted members of the Rawlings erstwhile administration.

Former president Rawlings, who was emotionally and passionately charged about the outcome, has called her all sorts of names including being a "thief".

In Mr. Rawlings' view, Madam Betty Mould should have gone to the court to provide the vital information the judge needed to find the businessman, Woyome guilty and sentence him accordingly.

Again, to Rawlings, the fact that Madam Betty did not appear in court to give evidence and the businessman has regained his freedom means that Madam Betty is a "thief".

The 1st Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon Barton-Oduro, who was Betty's Deputy, was not also spared by the NDC's Founder.

Rawlings holds a strong opinion that these two personalities including some others have deliberately taken refuge in the party leadership positions so as to escape future prosecutions for their sins they have committed in the past.

Lately, Mr. Rawlings incessant vituperative attacks on Betty have surprised and terrified some party faithful. Why should they?

Well, there are ample instances over the years that anyone who disagrees with Rawlings and his wife, Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings, becomes an opponent or enemies of the family, and an eventual an object of serious attacks.

Many bigwigs, some are deceased now and others are still alive in the umbrella family, have fallen victims to that.

Even the current President, John Dramani Mahama, was not spared the wrath of the former first family in 2004 during the choice of a running mate to then presidential candidate, late Prof John Evans Atta-Mills.

The Woyome case is an endless controversial matter, and for years to come, politicians, lawyers, journalists and some other professional bodies, young and old, would make it a point of reference in their discourse, debates, articles etc... anywhere they would gather.

And that calls for Madam Betty to come cleaner than she has done than so far. She has a lot to do to redeem her hard earned international reputation and that of her husband, whose name, many people in the country revere a lot.

Yes! Madam Betty has been speaking eloquently in reacting to the issues, but the a-64 million question some Ghanaians kept asking honestly is that; why did she not go to the court to defend the state when Mr Woyome initially moved to the court with all his arsenals to press demand for the money he has claimed right to after the then President, John Agyekum Diawuo Kufour, has abrogated his contract?

It beats many minds why Madam Betty did not go to court to defend the state over a serious and controversial case, when the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning headed by Dr. Kwabena Dufour, as the Minister at that time, stood his ground and rejected assigning the cheques for Mr. Woyome.

This is the fundamental question Ghanaians are seeking plenty answers for, and Madam Betty must come clearer and louder on this issue so that Ghanaians would understand her and she too would have a respite so that her husband's reputation would not be dented with any black spot.

Alhaji Mahama Iddrisu has been in government, in fact, one of the longest serving Ministers in this country. Ghanaians across both political divide have commended him for carrying out him well both in and out of government. Therefore, this enviable image must be protected and guarded for generations yet unborn.

There is strong belief that Madam Betty Mould-Iddrisu, the internationally acclaimed lawyer might be protecting or shielding some people in or outside the party.

As a chief legal officer to the government under late the President, negotiating with Woyome over the settlement of the debt Kufour had incurred, why did she dropped the decision to go to court to defend the case after negotiations between the state and Woyome broke down?

Madam Mould, if there is something behind your inability to face Woyome in court initially please come out otherwise, you would become a chewing stick in the mouths of some people who don't deserve to even wear your shoes you disposed off.