Feature Article of Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Columnist: Bonsu, Maame Yaa

Alfred Agbesi Woyome’s Bail Is Good News

It comes as pleasant news for many followers of the National Democratic Congress and some traditional areas in the Volta Region following the release of a member of the Expanded Executive Committee of the ruling National Democratic Congress in the Volta Region, Consul Alfred Agbesi Woyome, who many of us affectionately call “Eagle”.

It would be recalled that the ‘Rambo-styled’ arrest and subsequent detention of Consul Woyome in Headquarters of the Police Criminal Investigations Department on Friday February 3, 2012.

The Volta Caucus in Parliament, individuals, party faithful and some chiefs have expressed disgust at the way and manner Alfred Woyome was arrested even though he was very cooperative with the investigation processes of the Economic and Organised Crime Office [EOCO] who finally turned his own testimonies against him.

The concerns, frustrations and accusations of heavy-handedness from the state against Alfred was borne out of the fact that though others including some persons from the opposition New patriotic Party [NPP], were indicted by the same EOCO Interim Report, upon which Alfred’s arrest was initiated, there seem to be a selective implementation of the findings or otherwise of the report.

I find it strange that the EOCO would go ahead to freeze all accounts of Alfred Woyome when the specific directive of the EOCO was to freeze only the account into which the alleged Judgement debt was paid, irrespective of the figures involved. Just as Alfred was in court challenging that decision, he was arrested to face criminal charges including defrauding the state and conspiracy to commit a crime.

New is that The Accra Fast Track High Court has restrained the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) from carrying out investigations into suspected offences, including fraud, in the award and execution of contracts for the construction of stadia for CAN 2008 following a motion on notice for the grant of an order for interlocutory injunction filed by Dr Kofi Amoah, the Chairman of the erstwhile Local Organising Committee for CAN 2008, praying for an order to restrain EOCO, whether by itself, its agents, assigns and servants or however described, from continuing and/or having anything to do in any manner whatsoever with the purported investigations into the matter pending the final determination of the suit.

By this latest development, I guess the EOCO has to close shop on this matter until the case is finally determined no matter how long it would take. The EOCO is also being challenged on different scores over the same matter and coming days would be more than interesting in the final determination of the matter. Alfred Woyome, undoubtedly, has been of support to the NPP and the NDC on countless occasion anjd the agenda by the NPP to make the issue as NDC-Affair is most regrettable.

During the Kufuor regime, Alfred was pivotal in securing funds around the world through his outfits to fund major development projects including the construction of the Sogakope , Gushegu and the Begoro Hospitals. It would be revealing to know whether on all these coassions, Woyome had a valid ‘contract’ with the Kufuor government or he was just doing Ghana a favour and if he was ever mentioned, acknowledged or paid for the services he rendered as a Financial Engineer.

It is also emerging that Alfred Woyome, sponsored the campaign bids of the former Minister of Sports, Yaw Osafo Marfo an d Mr. O.B Amoah, who have been indicted in the EOCO report as well. What remains rather interesting is that till date, the Police have failed to either arrest these persons or invite them for questioning on the matter.

Alfred Woyome, through his HIV/AIDS Foundation , Woyome Foundation for Africa, is credited to have single-handedly organised the first ever African HIV/AIDS Consultative Conference in Accra with 5 participants each from each African Country in 2004 which cost him and his Foundation close to two million dollars. The Conference’s Communique was adopted by the United Nations and used as an input on the UN draft Policy on HIV/AIDS and antiretroviral drugs for victims of HIV. Alfred Woyome has sponsored and is still sponsoring many Muslims brothers and sisters to the annual HAJJ Pilgrimage though a Christian. He opened the Red Bull Academy of Sports in Sogakope in the Volta Region, with two Astros turf which remain one of the best in the Country. I can understand why the Chiefs and people of the Sogakope Traditional Area have shown solidarity with their kinsman irrespective of what anyone thinks aor feels about that gesture.

In 2006, Alfred Woyome, sponsored the training tour of the Black Stars to Austria and Germany with the support of Red Bull Energy Drink.

Woyome has been supportive of many bye elections the NDC had contested between 2004 till date when the going got tough for the party in opposition. Again, he is credited with the transportation of hundreds of soccer fans who got stranded at the Kotoka International Airport upon a promise to send them to South Africa to support the Black Stars at that tournament.

His philanthropic activities cover religious bodies, schools, colleges and to many individuals that he barely knows. Indeed, the NPP Chief Scribe, Sir John, is on record to have conceded that Mr. Woyome, bought him a Rav4 4X4 Vehicle but lamely suggested that it was for supposed legal services he rendered the former. The former Chief of Staff under the Kufuor regime, Kojo Mpiani, also concedes that he had received $400,000 from Mr. Woyome for the NPP campaign. Nana Akomea, the NPP Communication Director also affirms that Woyome has supported the NPP in many ways.

Now that Mr. Alfred Woyome is out of custody on bail, I hope he would be instrumental in calming tempers all over the country especially those who feel strongly about the events of the last 2 weeks whether justified or not. The NDC at this time need unity to focus on governance and campaign and not to fall of the carefully orchestrated detractions of the NPP who will stop at nothing to bring sharp divisions within the fold of the NDC.

Alfred Woyome is one of us as an NDC financier, whether any person or power block within the party likes it or not and he will remain a major player in the NDC politics and as a businessman.

The media that has turned their networks and studios into Courtrooms and pronouncing all kinds of judgement against Mr. Woyome should learn to respect the constitution of Ghana and the ethics of their profession as journalists. Alfred Agbesi Woyome remains innocent and should be presumed as such until a competent court if jurisdiction comes to a close of this case in the best interest of Ghana.

Source: Maame Yaa Bonsu