Dr Kwabena Duffuor and Henry Martey Newman

The MINISTER for Finance and Economic Planning, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor and senior castle officials have been fingered in the Woyome scandal in which Alfred Agbesi Woyome, a self-styled financier of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), ‘fraudulently’ received a colossal amount of GH¢58million as judgment debt.

President Atta Mills’s chief of staff, Henry Martey Newman and the Finance Minister are said to have played various roles in the disbursement of the cash to the NDC financier.

According to documents available to DAILY GUIDE, two top officials are linked to the payments to Mr Woyome.

Pressure is mounting on the chief of staff to break his silence on the matter since a letter authorizing the payment to Mr. Woyome had been copied to him for the attention of President Mills and the presidency.

Former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Betty Mould-Iddrisu, DAILY GUIDE learnt, had denied authorizing the entire GH¢58million payment to Woyome.

DAILY GUIDE further learnt that the embattled former Attorney General who recently resigned her position as the Minister for Education due to the Woyome scandal, indicated she only authorized the payment of the first tranche of GH¢17million as ordered by a High Court, virtually pointing accusing fingers at Dr. Duffuor.

According to information gathered, Mrs. Mould-Iddrisu said she did not know how the additional payments were made to Woyome since at the time of the payments, she had left the Attorney General’s Department for the Education Ministry and the rest of the payments were made to him in 2011.

Mr. Woyome had confessed that indeed he received only GH¢17million in 2010 and that over GH¢34million was paid to him by the Finance Ministry in 2011.

He told the Africawatch magazine in its January 2012 issue that the Ministry of Finance came to an agreement with his legal team and the final payment was made.

Alfred Woyome

When Mr. Woyome was asked what exactly that figure was, he answered, “that figure is GH¢51,283,480.59, which is the principal in the first place; that was it.

“On October 5, 2010, GH¢17,094,493.50 was paid to me. This was in fulfillment of the court order. Then in 2011, there was this pre-trial issue, where they withdrew the case for settlement so they could pay the principal to avoid accrual of interest, which could have also been another financial loss. So the Finance Ministry came to an agreement with my legal team to truncate the rest, and the first tranche was paid in Febeuary 11, 2011, which was GH¢10 million, and then the next was paid on April 20, 2011 which was also GH¢10 million, and then one after that, was paid on October 4, 2011, which was GH¢14,188,987.06, all totaling GH¢51,283,480.59”.

It would be recalled that the Auditor-General’s report on the public accounts of Ghana (Consolidated Fund) for the year ended December 31, 2010, indicated that over GH¢58 million had been paid from the public purse to Mr. Woyome, a bankroller of the ruling NDC.

However, in a desperate attempt to extricate Dr. Duffuor from probably the biggest financial scandal in Ghana’s political history, as well as avoid a possible dismissal, various newspapers which former Attorney General and Minister for Justice Martin Amidu described as ‘criminal rented NDC press’, in a syndicated manner, yesterday published a letter in which the Finance Minister, Dr Duffuor purportedly queried the judgment debt payment to Mr. Woyome.

The papers published a letter written by Dr. Duffuor dated April 12, 2010, querying Betty Mould-Iddrisu’s authorization for the payment of the money.

In the letter to Betty, titled ‘Settlement Of Claims Involving The Rehabilitation Of The Ohene Djan, Baba Yara And El Wak Sports Stadia,’ Dr. Duffuor said, “I refer to your letter dated 31st March, 2010 on the above mentioned subject matter authorizing the ministry to make payment of the two percent (2%) of amount claimed (€1,106,470,587.00).

“Attached to your letter is a claim by Austro-Invest Management dated 16th February, 2010. This Agreement states that Austro-Invest is prepared to accept 1% of the total value of the project as compensation.

“The Agreement further requests that this amount should be divided between Austro-Invest and Mr. Alfred Woyome.

“In addition to this document, we have also a copy of a petition by Mr. Woyome. This Petition makes a claim of 2% of the total value of the project. 1% for Austro-Invest and 1% for Mr. Woyome.

“Our Accounts office has raised a query on the supporting documentation of the claim. For audit purposes, they require clarity and evidence on whether the claim is being made by the consortium that won the bid to conduct the financial engineering led by Mr. Woyome jointly or separately.

“Kindly advise on the implication of the Agreement and also provide us with any further documentation that substantiates Mr. Woyome’s claim.”

This letter was written in April, five months before the court gave the directive for the payment, indicating that Dr Duffuor cannot run away from the scandal.

Following public outcry on the matter, Mr. Amidu, the man who succeeded Betty as the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, filed an amended suit in the High Court, arguing that the payment was fraudulent because Mr. Woyome misrepresented himself.

He asked Woyome to refund the money paid him to the state.

By Awudu Mahama

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