4 February 2013

Ghana: Woyome Is 'Mad'

An apparently troubled-hearted businessman, Alfred Agbesi Woyome, the man at the centre of the controversial GH¢51 Million judgment debt, yesterday went bonkers over the way the state was dillydallying in prosecuting the case that is currently before an Accra Financial court.

Mr. Woyome, who is on charges of defrauding by false pretences and causing financial loss to the state, expressed his frustrations at the turn of events, as he lamented over his frozen business accounts, which is slowly crippling his businesses.

He further questioned why the state should come to court, when the prosecution had not finished gathering its witnesses to prosecute its claim.

Mr. Woyome poured out his frustrations on journalists, after close of court hearing, when the court, presided over by Justice John Ajet-Nasam, adjourned sitting to February 12, 2013, due to the failure of the prosecution to present witnesses.

Acting Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Ms. Cynthia Lamptey had pleaded with the court that the state could not bring its witnesses to give evidence in the case before it, and that it should be given two more weeks to enable them gather their witnesses.

The excuse from the prosecution is the second time running in this year that the state had failed to present its witnesses and which subsequently necessitated an adjournment of the case.

Woyome is accused of defrauding the state for receiving a GH¢51Million judgment debt paid to him in respect of default of government projects in the renovation of some stadia for the CAN 2008.

He had pleaded not guilty to the charges of defrauding by false pretences and causing financial loss to the state and currently on a GH¢20Million bail with three sureties.

However, the state had indicated that it never owe Woyome any money from any contract, for which he had been paid GH¢51Million.

It is the case of the state that sometime in January 2005, the government invited bids for the rehabilitation of the Accra (Ohene Djan) and Kumasi (Baba Yara) sports stadia, and the construction of two more stadia in Sekondi-Takoradi and Tamale.

At the end of the bidding process, a number of companies were shortlisted and invited to submit proposals for the projects among which M-powapak Gmb/Vamed Engineering Gmbh & Co KG was eventually declared by the finance and evaluation committee as the most responsive after which it was recommended to the tender review board.

However, before the tender could receive final approval, the government terminated the process, which had in the course of the process seen Vamed assigned its rights and responsibilities to Waterville Holding (BVI) Ltd.

The prosecution said after the termination of the tender process, Waterville protested against the termination and got the government to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with it on November 30, 2005 to commence rehabilitation works on the Accra and El-wak stadia.

The State Attorney told the court that the MoU required Waterville to engineer funding for the project on behalf of the government from Bank Austria Creditanstalt AG and guaranteed by the World Bank's Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).

It was noted that on December 19, 2005, Waterville engaged M-powapak led by Woyome to provide it with financial engineering service in respect of the projects and a formal contract for the rehabilitation of the Ohene Djan and El-wak stadia was entered into by the government and Waterville on April 26, 2006.

However, before the contract could become effective, the government terminated the contract due to Waterville's inability to engineer funding for the project, among others issues as contained in the MoU and which formed a condition precedent to the contract, the court heard.

Waterville, the prosecution said, initially protested against the termination but eventually accepted it and proceeded to claim monies for the initial works done under the MoU.

The government paid substantial amount of Waterville's claims, out of which the company fully paid M-powapak, represented by Woyome, for the financial engineering services acknowledged by him in a termination agreement dated November 25, 2006, which brought the relationship between the two to an end the prosecution informed the court.

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