At long last the battle is ended and businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome is free for ever Whether the Attorney General's Department will appeal against the verdict is immaterial here.
An Accra High Court yesterday acquitted and discharged, Woyome clearing him of all charges.
The Ghanaian businessman has for the past two years been standing trial on two counts of defrauding by false pretence contrary to section 131(1) of the Criminal Offences Act 1960, Act 29 and causing financial loss to the State, contrary to section 179(A) sub section 3 of the Criminal Offences Act.
In the opinion of the court Mrs. Betty Mould Iddrisu, then Minister of of Justice, Ebo Barton Oduro, then Deputy Minister of Justice, Paul Asemeni Head of the Legal Department of the Ministry of Finance, Samuel Nerquaye Tetteh, Chief State Attorney and Rex Magnus Danquah Chief Operating Officer of CAN 2008, Local Organising Committee in charge of the Day to day administration of the tournament and member of the Technical Committee as well as being responsible for the receipt of all bids were instrumental in the matter but were not invited by the prosecution to give evidence in support of the charges against the accused person.
Woyome per the charges preferred against him by the prosecution made a false representation to government officials in February 2010 that the State owed him 22 million 129 thousand 411 point 74 Euros being two percent of the amount of billion, 106 million, 470 thousand and 587 Euros, as financial engineering fees he was charging on the amount raised from Bank Austria Credtanstalk which turned out to be untrue. Based on his claims, the Ministry of Finance authorised the payment of 57 million 283 thousand 480 point 59 cedis to him.
In law there is a basic principal that he who alleges must prove. It is therefore unfortunate that the AG's Department were neck deep into the matter? If so, why did'nt the State present independent prosecutors to handle the matter if genuinely the AG's Department was interested in owning the case? This smacks of conflict of interest. The State prosecutors as said by former President Rawlings who is founder of the NDC did indeed a shoddy job.
The Attorney General's Department in recent times has been found wanting in the prosecution of cases. We recall the Nayele Ametefe cocaine case where the six alleged accomplices of Nayele were all acquitted and discharged after the Department had filed a 'nolle prosequio'. Again in the on-going fraud case against the former National Service boss, Alhaji Alhassan Imoro the State Prosecutors continue to ask for adjournments to enable them to complete investigations into the matter.
Also in the GYEEDA case involving Abuga Pele, former MP and National Coordinator of Gyeeda, the State keeps asking for adjournments to produce a key witness, there is also the Asamoah Boateng case and more coming events they say cast their shadows. The lack lustre performance of the Attorney General's Department in recent times is indeed an indictment on lawyers at the Department.
We ask ourselves when will the State have value for money in legal cases. As things stand now people are losing confidence in the AG's Department and the earlier they prove the skeptics wrong the better. They must work around the clock to collect the 51 million cedis from Mr. Woyome as ordered by the Supreme Court in the Martin Amidu case some officials at the AG's Department are working against the interest of the state and the earlier the place is reshuffled the better. It is unfortunate the truth in the Woyome case were not uncovered despite all the politics.
Nevertheless the truth like the cork can never sink under water. It will be out one day.
BY JUSTICE MINGLE, A JOURNALIST