By Helena Selby
An Accra based Businessman, Alfred Agbesi Woyome, the man at the centre of the controversial GH¢51Million judgment debt payment is expected to open his defence on the charges that have been brought against him by the state after the prosecution closed its case yesterday.
Counsel for Mr. Woyome, who is facing charges of defrauding by false pretence and causing financial loss to the state, however, told the court that his client could not immediately open his defence, since they were unaware that the prosecution was going to close its case.
The investigator, ASP Odame Okeyere, the final prosecution witness, yesterday disclosed to the court that the petition written to the Attorney General (AG) by Mr. Alfred Woyome triggered the GH¢51million payment.
According to him, after the court’s judgement, the AG, who was unwilling to pay the amount, went to court for stay of execution, but Mr. Woyome went back to court to enforce the payment.
ASP Okeyere, testifying before the court, presided over by Justice John Ajet-Nasam emphasized that Betty Mould Iddrisu, the then AG, forwarded the settlement agreement to the Ministry of Finance for the accused person to be paid the said amount.
After counsel for the accused, Mr. Osafo Boabeng had finished cross examining the prosecution witnesses, he told the court that as he was not aware that the prosecution was going to close its case and, therefore, pleaded for time to prepare his response. The case has been adjourned to February 10, 2014.
Woyome is currently facing two charges of defrauding by false pretences and causing financial loss to the state. He had pleaded not guilty to all the charges and he is currently on a GH¢20Million bail with three sureties.
According to the state, it never owed 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 were M-powapak Gmb/Vamed Engineering, which 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 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 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 of Austria Creditanstalt 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 it due to Waterville’s inability to engineer funding for the project, among other 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.