Feature Article of Thursday, 9 February 2012

Columnist: Osei-Bonsu, Nana Yaa

Is It A Crime To Love One’s Country?

Who is Alfred Agbesi Woyome?

This is what I know to be true of the man called Alfred Agbesi Woyome.

1. He believes and loves God.

2. He believes/believed, and had such faith in President Mills.

3. He loves Ghana and the single most important thing to him is the development of Ghana to standards equal to if not better than South Africa, and sacrificing so much of himself.

4. He is a man I have great admiration for, a man you can trust with your life, a man who stands for the truth.

A lot of people have been beneficiaries of his generosity. People who I hope in time will come forward to attest to this.

Because of his faith in Professor Mills he gives financial support to the NDC party in order that the party can stay in power for another term so development can be realized throughout the country, an opportunity he knows will not be possible under an NPP Government based on his past experiences. A case in point is the abrogation of the much maligned “contract” or lack of it of recent times, and continues to be the hottest topic in peoples’ homes, the workplace, funerals and other social gatherings.

This is a man who organized the biggest international HIV/AIDS conference in Accra, Ghana in 2004, where we had eight representatives (Persons Living with HIV/AIDS) from each African country and paid for their travel to Accra and accommodation in Accra. A man who spent huge amounts of money to stage an HIV/AIDS concert in Ghana, to raise not only awareness but also to raise funds. Much needed funds that would have gone towards the treatment and benefit of HIV/AIDS sufferers. Funds that would have seen Ghana put up the biggest factory in the world to produce anti-retroviral drugs (ART) for People Living with HIV/Aids. Unfortunately this vision of his was not realized. Why? Well let me tell you. This was because license was not granted for the use of the Accra Sports Stadium.

Mr. Woyome has been paid a colossal amount of money which has caused a public outcry. But has anyone sat down to look at the genesis of the whole CAN 2008 saga? Background work towards CAN 2008 started in 2001. He was instrumental in Ghana being chosen to host the game. Has anyone thought of how many meetings he sat through, how much travel was involved and the expenditure associated with all these? No. Has anyone considered the quantum of the package for CAN 2008 that the Vamed/Waterville group led by Mr. Woyome entailed? The benefits of development that their winning bid would have meant to Ghana had the contract not been abrogated? No.

The Vamed/Waterville (later Waterville) winning bid for CAN 2008, was to provide ? 10 Stadiums, with state of the art emergency centres, one for each of the 10 regions

? Motels/Hotels attached to the Stadiums

? Multi-storey car parks and a heli-pad

? 6 Wellness centres

? Supermarkets for Accra and Kumasi stadiums

? An Olympic Stadium off the Accra/Tema Motorway

? A Cobalt 60 plant in collaboration with Ghana’s Atomic Energy for the preservation of food

For all the above he arranged a soft loan (more work behind the scenes) finance of almost Euros 1.2 billion at a rate of 2.5%, with a concessionality of 35% to the Government of Ghana. Concessionality, meaning that Government of Ghana would have repaid 65% of the loan at the rate of 2.5% over a period of time. If the contract had not been abrogated, he would have taken his fee of 7% from the arranged finance. This is the basis for his demand.

Now, the John Agykum Kufour led NPP abrogated a lawful contract and brought in the Chinese through the back door to build how many stadiums? The NPP government took out a commercial loan of US$ 250,000,000.00 from a local bank (Barclays Bank, Accra High Street) at a rate of 10% per annum over the period of the loan which almost left to the collapse of Barclays Bank, High Street Branch. Subsequently, the Managing Director of the bank at the time was dismissed.

These are facts from Mr. Woyome’s documents which was made available to the press and to EOCO.

Now someone should do their homework and tell the Ghanaian public how the stadia were actually built and at what cost to the taxpayers? Also who is responsible for the loss to the nation?

So from where I am sitting, these are my observations;

Not only did Ghanaians not get the much needed development that the country needs but also Ghanaians lost a colossal amount through the much maligned payment made to Mr. Woyome and other beneficiaries of the CAN 2008 judgment due to the greed and spitefulness of the previous government.

Ghana needs development and it should not matter what political party one belongs to, for the simple reason that no one party owns Ghana. If one party refuses to accept good ideas for development from a member of an opposition party, this is to the detriment of all Ghanaians so we should stand up to be counted if we have the interest of our country at heart.

This brings me to EOCO’s interim report which I treat with the contempt it deserves. The report is titled “Judgment debts from 2007”, yet the report only concentrates on Mr. Woyome and the payment of GH¢51m made to him. Are we to understand that no other judgment debts have been paid despite the mention of 640m in the Auditor’s Report for 2010 only? What happened to that from 2007 to 2009?

The report goes on to portray Mr. Woyome as dishonest, a liar and corrupt. I was under the impression that EOCO has suspended its investigations, therefore making the report inconclusive. EOCO publishes its inconclusive report, knowing that there is a pending court case questioning the legality of EOCO to carry out an investigation as opposed to fact finding, and being in contempt of court.

How come then that this man is in custody for alleged criminal offences emanating from an inconclusive report?

There is an ongoing trial by media. Let us not forget that one is innocent until proven guilty.

The NDC government wants a sacrificial lamb to appease the Ghanaian public. They have made Mr Woyome the scapegoat, but I tell you Alfred Agbesi Woyome is not responsible for the hardships Ghanaians are going through. This is an attempt to destroy an honest man’s reputation, and to ‘hang’ him at all costs. His supporters are being told lies, creating doubt in their minds as to his integrity so they forsake him. This is because the government knows his supporters will make so much noise and will put pressure on government to release him. This is a very sad day, if for the sake of politics and the desire to retain power at all costs, a man’s life hangs on what is the truth.

Among questions being asked is why the government has not published the following reports that have been in their possession for how many months now?

? Ghana @ 50

? EOK. Frimpong – the late security at Bank of Ghana

? The killing of Mobila

? The killing of the Ya-Naa

Will they deny that they don’t have these reports?

There is a reason and a purpose for our existence on this earth. In all things we must give glory and honour to God.

In times like these you get to see who your true friends are. The man has been in custody since Friday and those he regarded as friends have distanced themselves from him. This is the biggest betrayal by a party he loves and has risked his life for, and also by people he regarded as friends.

I am not painting a picture of a saint here. Mr. Woyome is human and has his faults – notably what short fuse he has, when he is angered about injustice. He does what he does – financial contribution – out of his love for the NDC party. A party that has betrayed him for their own selfish needs. Betrayal, not in the sense that the government should cover for Mr. Woyome but betrayal, because the party knows the truth but want to sacrifice an innocent man. The NDC party and government have brought disgrace on themselves and become a laughing stock for their opponents. A party and a government that cannot be trusted.

He who have ears let him hear, for we are each our brother’s keeper. This issue is outright injustice and abuse of his human rights. It cuts across the political party. Do not jubilate for you don’t know what will befall you.

Alfred Agbesi Woyome believes and has faith in God, and the God he serves will come to his aid. Romans 8:28 says “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose. He believes that his wealth is from God to pursue God’s purpose for him on earth. To this end he is very supportive of the financial needs of religious bodies, and has contributed enormously to religious bodies. He is always ready to help society and his generosity knows no bounds.

Was it not Alfred Woyome who paid for over 500 football supporters to travel to South Africa for the World Cup in 2010? Was this money from the judgment debt? Mr. Mr. Woyome is full of ideas and is known for staying up late thinking through strategies that will benefit Ghana economically, through job creation and thereby the lives of Ghanaians. As at now the companies he has established have over 95 employees, with the hope of employing more as subsidiaries come on board. I have heard him say to a colleague who was reluctant to come on board a project he is passionate about that “It is your national duty to come on board” He has plans to help Ghana develop as , All this for Mother Ghana.

How come a man who is trying to better his nation has now become a thief? The truth will always prevail over evil.

If it is a crime to love one’s country the way Mr. Woyome does, then let him stand accused.

Source: Nana Yaa Osei-Bonsu