Govt to pursue Woyome,others over judgement debt- Gloria Akuffo

Mr Alfred  WoyomeThe Attorney General and Minister of Justice-designate, Ms. Gloria Akuffo, has hinted that judgement debts cases which in the view of the government were illegally paid, including the controversial one paid businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome, will be reviewed.

Though unable to put a timeline on the recovery of the monies, Ms. Akuffo said she will speed up work on recovering the monies if her appointment is approved by Parliament.

At her vetting in Accra on Saturday, she said: “I will review everything that is on my table.”

She was however quick to add that due process will be the guiding principle in her attempt to recover such monies for the state.

Referring to the Woyome case in particular, she said her understanding was that judgement had been entered for the refund of the money but efforts by the state to recover the money has been riddled with legal applications.

“My understanding is that, the execution process has been stalled with all these processes. I will go to the office and look at it.

“That is why I said that I cannot make categorical undertakings that if you give me approval tomorrow I can retrieve the money because this is a matter which is subject to litigation,” she explained.

“I can only say that when I get there, I will study the file and see how quickly we can recover the money,” she added.

She said she will do her best as the chief legal advisor to the government in recovering the money but “will look at what’s best for the office”.

On the proposed office for an Independent Prosecutor by the President, Ms. Gloria Akuffo said the work of the Independent Prosecutor would be to deal with corruption.

“The proposed Independent Prosecutor‘s office is intended to be one of the ways that will deal specifically with the canker of corruption in the public sector,” she stressed.

She explained that by the constitution the Attorney General has the power to prosecute criminal matters, but also has the power to delegate that authority to another person.

It is under that that the office of the Independent Prosecutor will be set up with a specific remit to deal with public sector corruption, she added. “And the way to do it is by an Act of parliament.
The person will be nominated by the president and then it will be crafted in such a manner that it will not fall foul of the constitution and it is intended to give confidence to the public that this is not a caricature,” she said.

She said there is always a perception that when there is a change of government, political witch-hunting takes root and to take away that perception and give confidence to the public, the office of the Independent Prosecutor would need parliament to back that appointment.

Among other policy proposals if approved, Ms. Akuffo said she will ensure the speedy passage of the Intestate Succession Bill which has been in Parliament since 2009.

The bill among other things, seeks to ensure a more responsive approach to the needs of nuclear families whose parents or spouses die intestate and to provide uniform intestate succession that will be applied throughout the country irrespective of the inheritance system of the intestate, and the type of marriage contracted.

By Julius Yao Petetsi

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