For some years now, the government of Ghana has been in the legal ring with business man, Alfred Agbesi Woyome over GH¢51.2 million that was paid to him as judgment debt.
The business man has been in hot soup, since the country’s apex court, ruled, ordering him to refund the said amount of money to the state, as it found the payment made to him as, unconstitutional and invalid.
Mr. Agbesi Woyome was paid the money in three tranches of GH¢17 million each on the pretext that he provided financial engineering for the government for the construction of stadia for the CAN 2008 tournament.
The order by the Supreme Court came on July 29, 2014, where the court found that, GH¢51.2 million contract between the State and Waterville Holdings Limited in 2006 for the construction of stadia for the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations was illegitimate.
According to the Supreme Court, the contracts upon which Mr. Woyome made and received the claim were in contravention of Article 181 (5) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, which required such contracts to be laid before and approved by Parliament.
On March 1, 2016, the businessman prayed the court to give him three years to refund the money to the country, but his wish was not granted by the highest legal decision institution of the country.
Although Mr. Agbesi Woyome made an initial payment of GH¢4 million in November 2016, with the pledge to pay the outstanding balance in quarterly instalments of GH¢5 million, commencing April 1, 2017, he failed to honour his promise.
The businessman rather resorted to a number of legal battles with the state at the Supreme Court, all of which yielded no results, as the state won the matters against it.
While many Ghanaians recounted the independence declaration of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, saying, “at long last, the battle has ended…” the businessman had another alternative.
Mr. Alfred Agbesi Woyome in August 2017 ran to the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), based in Paris, France, and the African Court of Justice, based in Arusha, Tanzania, to deepen his delay tactics in paying the judgment debt.
The businessman was unlucky again, as the ICC threw out his case, on the basis that he had failed to properly invoke its jurisdiction.
The ownership tussle
In 2018, receiver of defunct UT Bank, an indigenous financial services provider, Mr. Eric Nana Nipah, claimed ownership of some properties belonging to the battered businessman, Mr. Agbesi Woyome which was intended to be sold to defray part of his debt.
The Attorney General, Madam Gloria Akuffo held that, the Mr. Nipah, who doubles as one of the Directors of audit firm, Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) was colliding with Mr. Agbesi Wowome to prevent the state from selling his properties to pay his debt.
Assets that were to be sold included two mansions at Trassaco Estate, a house at Kpehe, where he resides, an office complex of Anator Holdings, residential building at Abelemkpe and a stone quarry in the Eastern Region including its plants and equipment.
Gov’t okays renegotiation with Woyome over repayment of judgment debt
In a latest development, the government of Ghana has indicated its readiness to renegotiate with the embattled businessman, Mr. Agbesi Woyome, on the payment of the remaining GH¢47.2 million owed the state.
A Deputy Attorney-General, Mr. Godfred Yeboah Dame, has noted, his outfit was yet to receive a formal proposal from the businessman, who had informed the media that he was ready to renegotiate.
Speaking with state-owned newspaper, the Daily Graphic in Accra on Tuesday, July 2, 2019, Mr. Dame stated, that the processes towards auctioning Woyome’s assets to offset the GH¢47.2 million debt he owed the government would continue.
The renegotiation comes after the African Court on Human and People’s Rights on Friday, June 28, 2019, dismissed the case filed by Mr. Agbesi Woyome, against the Republic of Ghana.
Mr. Agbesi Woyome had applied to the Continental Court arguing, his human rights were being trampled upon by the country in relation to the case in which he sued Ghana for abrogating a financial engineering services contract and was paid GH¢51.2 million.
On the specific issue of reparations, the African Court held that, since no violation has been established, the issue of reparation does not arise. Consequently, the Applicant’s prayers for reparation was dismissed.