Feature Article of Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Columnist: Public Agenda

Woyomegate: Rot, Collusion & Cover Up at Attorney General's Department

The raging Woyome saga will not be put to rest anytime soon as Public Agenda has discovered official documents which reveal a grand scheme of collusion by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government to sweep under the carpet the "gargantuan" GHC58 million judgement debt paid to NDC financier, Alfred A. Woyome.

Official communication between former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Martin Assibi B. K. Amidu; Solicitor-General, Amma A. Gaisie and Chief State Attorney, Samuel Neequaye-Tetteh in January this year indicates that there was an attempt by the Government to cover up the sleazy judgement debt payment.

The linchpin of this whitewashing endeavour was to be the former Attorney-General but his uncompromising professional approach to the smelly scandal scuttled the NDC government's plot to let Mr Woyome off the hook.

In a letter dated January 13, 2012 with Ref No. D45/SF.173/10, Mr Amidu expressed his frustration at the refusal of Mrs. Gaisie to offer her opinion on issues he had raised in an earlier letter (D45SF/173/10 of 4th January 2012) in respect of the Woyome judgment debt payment. The letter was copied to the Secretary to the President, the President's Chief of Staff and the National Security Co-ordinator.

Apparently seething with anger, Mr. Amidu would not accept the excuse of Mrs. Gaisie that she was not involved in the consent judgement settlement agreement and so could not offer an opinion. He wrote: "You would realize that my letter was addressed to you as the Solicitor-General requesting for your answers that will clarify the issues I raised so I can give a fair and balanced reporting on the issues entailed in the case to the Presidency."

The former Attorney-General was relieved of his post by President J.E.A. Mills remotely due to the fall-outs from the Woyome saga. Mr Amidu stated in the said letter that "I was myself not in this Ministry when the settlements were made but it has been my burden to read the documentation and to proffer an opinion."

He continues: "The fact that you were excluded or did not take part in the settlement is no reason to say you cannot proffer your opinion as my Chief Technical Advisor now that I have given you the opportunity to assist me in the assignment H.E. the President assigned this Ministry."

He indicated to Mrs Gaisie that she was duty bound as Solicitor-General of Ghana to have a considered opinion which she ought to give to him. "As the Solicitor-General you definitely will agree or disagree with the legal positions taken by Mr. Nerquaye-Tetteh, Chief State Attorney, and you must state so."

Stating that Mr. Nerquaye-Tetteh addressed his memorandum to Mrs. Gaisie for her to add her views either agreeing or disagreeing with his comments, Mr. Amidu noted: "The Chief State Attorney has side stepped the case of Attorney-General v Faroe Atlantic Co. Ltd and you must read the case and answer the question on it. He has quoted the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663) but has side stepped the question whether the procurement process for which the Central Tender Review Board gave concurrent approval was in the name of Alfred Agbesi Woyome as an individual or Vamed and latter Vamed/Waterville Holding Ltd after 1st July 2005, when Vamed assigned it [sic] rights to Waterville."

The former Attorney-General, who is now famed for accusing some NDC kingpins of attempting to commit gargantuan crimes and renting the pro-NDC press to do him in for his principled stance, exposed Mrs Gaisie's knowledge of the tendering processes and procedures. "I am told you were a member of the Central Tender Review Board at the time," he stated.

He reminded Mrs. Gaisie that he gave her the opportunity to perform her duty as his chief technical advisor "who must take a position on the issues this time around but you appear to want to sit on the fence again." He, however, warned: "No fence sitting can be accepted in this mater [sic] again from you by the Government. You are unduly delaying my response to His Excellency the President."

In her letter to Mr. Amidu, Mrs Gaisie said: "As I already informed you, I was not party to the settlement discussions. I attended the first two meetings on the Waterville and Woyome discussion during which several documents were furnished by Mr. Woyome and Mr. Nerquaye-Tetteh, Chief State Attorney (CSA) was asked to review. I was not called to any of the subsequent meetings which culminated in the settlement of the two matters."

She said she had directed Mr Nerquaye who participated in the negotiation to answer the issues he raised in the letter under reference, and she had attached herewith his responses to the issues. She said she had also included "a copy of the annexure to the letter of 18th February, 2010 that you requested for," and a copy of the agreement between Mr. Woyome and Austro-Invest that authorised Mr. Woyome to receive the one per cent due them on their behalf.

In his memorandum, Mr Nerquaye-Tetteh summarised the issues as follows: request for annexes of documents referred to in Mr Woyome's letter 18th February 2010; copy of Power of Attorney between Astro-Invest and Alfred Woyome upon which basis he was paid their portion; and difference between the procurement process which was abrogated and the signed contract of 26th April 2006.

The other issues are legal justification for differentiating between the procurement process that was abrogated and the contract signed on 26th April 2006; why money was paid to Austro-Invest through Mr. Woyome and not through Waterville; contract between Government of Ghana and Alfred Woyome; disappearance of a signed copy of the agreement of 26th April 2006 and constitutional basis for payment without parliamentary approval of the agreement of 26th April 2006.