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General News of Saturday, 5 November 2016

Source: citifmonline.com

Woyome’s case proof of our failing democracy – Casely-Hayford

Anti-corruption crusader, Sydney Casely-Hayford believes government’s handling of the Woyome saga is symptomatic of Ghana’s failing democracy.

His assertion follows a move by the Attorney General’s office to discontinue an oral examination of the businessman, Alfred Agbesi Woyome, over the controversial GHs51 million judgment debt paid to him.

Mr. Casely-Hayford suggested that the AG’s office, led by the Minister for Justice, Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, is clearly forced to protect the government, a proof that the AGs office is not independent of government.

“This now tells you why our democracy doesn’t work. It doesn’t work because the AG who is supposed to be an independent prosecutor to ensure that all of these is sorted out is now conflicted because the AG is now trying to protect its government,” he said on The Big Issue.

Appiah-Oppong’s job on the line if she follows Amidu

Mr. Casely-Hayford further opined that Mrs. Appiah-Oppong’s job would be on the line like the former AG, Martin Amidu, if she doesn’t kowtow to the government’s demands.

Mr. Amidu was sacked in 2011 for misconduct, a move Mr. Casely-Hayford described as one of the “biggest travesties of justice we ever did for the people of this country” as he contended that, the former AG was rather sacked because he decided to pursue Mr. Woyome in the judgment debt saga.

“Do you think that if the AG decided to pursue this case and follow it through, there would be no repercussions on her from government? How difficult would it be for her to be sacked tomorrow? How difficult was it for Amidu to be sacked.”

“For the first time in recent history, we had an Attorney General who was actually prepared to put his foot down and prosecute cases that he thought had to be done irrespective of whether you were government or whether you were private,” Mr. Casely-Hayford stated.

The recent turn of events has compelled Mr. Amidu to file an application at the Supreme Court, praying it to allow him to examine Mr. Woyome.

Mr. Amidu has also alleged that Mrs. Appiah-Oppong withdrew her application to examine Woyome because President John Mahama personally gave an order.

Mr. Amidu in a statement after filing the application to examine Mr. Woyome argued that the AG backtracked in order to protect some National Democratic Congress (NDC) officials, who benefited from the GHs51 million paid Mr. Woyome.

Background to Woyome saga

Alfred Woyome was paid GHs 51 million after he claimed to have helped raise funds to construct stadia for purposes of hosting the CAF 2008 Nations Cup.

However, an Auditor General’s report released in 2010 said the amount was paid illegally to the National Democratic Congress (NDC) financier.

The Supreme Court in 2014 subsequently ordered Mr. Woyome to pay back the GHs51 million fraudulently taken from the state after Mr. Amidu challenged the legality of the judgment debt paid the businessman and two other companies; Waterville and Isofoton.