Alfred Agbesi Woyome

Alfred Agbesi Woyome

The 1.1billion Euro loan facility, which Alfred Agbesi Woyome, the embattled National Democratic Congress (NDC) financier, claimed he secured for the state to construct stadia for the CAN 2008 tournament, reportedly did not hit the shores of Ghana.

The Acting Chief Director of the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney-General, Suleiman Ahmed, made this known when he mounted the witness box to give evidence in a case in which Mr. Woyome is standing trial on charges of defrauding by false pretences and causing financial loss to the State.

The eight prosecution witness informed the court, presided over by Justice John Ajet-Nasam that although the accused had provided a petition with documents that he acted as the financial engineer to secure the loan from Bank Austria for the state, they later discovered that no amount of 1,106,470,587 Euros was paid to government by the said bank.

Mr. Ahmed, who was led in evidence by Chief State Attorney, Mathew Amponsah, told the court that Mr. Woyome, based on this revelation, did not have any contract with the government to have made a claim of 22,129,411.74 Euros with its cedi equivalent of GH?41,811,480.51 as a fee for his financial engineering.

The witness, who said he had been working with the Ministry for the past four years and therefore worked under the then Attorney-General Betty Mould Iddrisu from February 2009 to January 2011, stated that his duties included administration and financial management.

Mr. Ahmed, who said he could identify Mrs. Mould-Iddrisu?s signature, told the court that he got to know Mr. Woyome when they appeared at the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament.

The witness stated that somewhere in 2009 when the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney-General was in negotiation with Waterville in connection with some claims for works they had done for the construction of stadia for the CAN 2008 tournament, Mr Woyome sent a letter to claim the Financial Engineering fee for the loan he secured for the project.

According to the witness, Woyome was advised to bring a formal claim with the necessary documentation to back it.

Following the advice, Mr. Woyome, he said, submitted a petition outlining the basis for his claim for Financial Engineering he had undertaken to secure an amount of 1,106,470,587 Euros, which according to Woyome had been paid to Government by Bank Austria for the construction of the stadia, six hospitals, Wellness Center and Cobalt 60 project of the Ghana Atomic Energy.

Woyome, in his petition dated February 18, 2010, asserted that he secured the money for which he was entitled to be paid two percent of the loan amounting to 22,129,411.74 Euros.

The witness disclosed that when the AG received the petition, she convened a meeting with the stakeholders comprising the consultant BIC, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Local Organising Committee to consider the petition of Woyome.

The advice, he stated, pointed out that there was merit in the claim of Mr. Woyome and for that matter the AG wrote to the Ministry of Finance for the confirmation of the advice given.

The Ministry of Finance reportedly wrote back to the Ministry of Justice confirming that Woyome had indeed engaged in financial engineering and was entitled to his two percent and further explained that in line with international best practice, such transaction attract between 0.5 to 5 percent and that the 2 percent was within acceptable practice.

Following this, the ministry called the lawyers of the accused for negotiation.

Upon the completion of the negotiation, they allegedly sent a formal letter to the Ministry of Finance signed by Mrs. Betty Mould Iddrisu for payment.

The witness said that the Ministry of Finance, upon receipt of the letter, also wrote to the Controller and Accountant-General to pay the amount to Mr. Woyome.

However, officials of the Ministry of Finance raised a query on two main issues relating to documentation and the proportion to pay Woyome and Austro Invest.

As a result of that the Finance Ministry wrote back to the Controller and Accountant-General to reverse the payment and further sent a letter to the Attorney-General for clarification on the two issues.

The Attorney-General, he said, noted that the money should be paid to Woyome and Austro Invest jointly and severally, adding that the money should be paid specifically to Woyome on behalf of Austro Invest.

Mr. Woyome, dissatisfied with the decision by the Finance Ministry to reverse the payment, went to the High Court to re-enforce his claim.

The case has been adjourned to June 13 for continuation of evidence.

 By Mary Anane

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