WOYOME DODGES ARREST … Agrees to appear before PAC today
By Emmanuel Akli
After back and forth arguments with the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament, Mr. Alfred Agbesi Woyome, the man who prefers to calls himself a financial engineer, has finally succumbed to pressure, and would be appearing before the committee this morning.
The PAC, which is reviewing the audited accounts of all government agencies and departments, first invited Mr. Woyome to appear before it in connection with the GH¢51 million paid to him as judgment debt.
The payment has been queried by the Auditor General in his 2010 Audited Report, and the committee felt Mr. Woyome was a principal witness who could help them in their investigations into the payment.
Mr. Woyome, however, wrote back to the Committee through his solicitors, Oseawuo Chambers and Co., that he could not attend because the very case they were investigating was pending before the court.
The committee, however, rejected his argument, and insisted that whether the case was pending before the court or not, he must appear before it. They then gave him a date to appear for the second time, but on the eve of the committee’s sitting, the witness sent another letter that he could still not appear before it.
The Chairman of the PAC, Albert Kan Dapaah, then became furious over the witness’ continuous refusal to appear before them. He contended that Mr. Woyome must first appear before the committee before they could discuss whether he should answer the questions to be put to him or not.
“The intention was that once we summon you, we can then talk about any objection to the invitation by the committee. It was not acceptable to us for the witnesses to refuse our invitation, even though we have powers under the Constitution to do so,” Chairman Dapaah noted during the last sitting of the PAC.
The Committee then issued a subpoena, or summons as is known in parliamentary terms, for the police to arrest Mr. Woyome and produce him during the next sitting.
Mr. Kan Dapaah, a Chartered Accountant by profession, based his decision on Article 103 of the Constitution, which outlines the functions and powers of the committee.
The said article reads: “Committees of Parliament shall be charged with such functions, including the investigation and inquiry into the activities and administration of ministries and departments as Parliament may determine, and such investigation and inquiries may extend to proposals for legislation.”
Again Article 103 (6) states: “A committee appointed under this article shall have the powers, rights and privileges of the High Court or a Justice of the High Court at a trial for (a) enforcing the attendance of witnesses and examining them on oath, affirmation or otherwise.”
But, whilst the PAC was in the process of writing officially to the Speaker of Parliament, asking her to inform the police to arrest Mr. Woyome, the latter wrote to the PAC informing it that there was mix-up regarding the date he was supposed to appear before the committee, and that it was not his intention to disobey the orders.
The PAC, therefore, decided to relax the subpoena after it agreed with Mr. Woyome and his lawyers for them to appear before the committee today.
The hullabaloo generated over the payment of the GH¢51 million to Mr. Woyome, who claims he did financial engineering for the government, prompted the departed President Mills to instruct the Economic and Organised Crimes Office (EOCO) to investigate the case.
After the EOCO had submitted its report to the President, Mr. Woyome was arrested and put before court, a case which is still pending.
Meanwhile the Auditor General, who audit’s the accounts of the government, came across the payment and raised query about it.
It is based on this that the PAC is bent on getting Mr. Woyome to explain certain aspects of the payment.
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