I Was Paid More Than What Was Contained In MOU — Woyome

Alfred Agbesi WoyomeBusinessman, Alfred Agbesi Woyome, yesterday told the Financial Division Two Court that he was paid more than what was contained in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the state and Shanghai Construction Company.

The MoU, dated September 27, 2005, was chanced upon in which it had been stated that he should be paid more than GHc 41million for work done.

The accused said the late President Atta Mills never ordered the stoppage of payment of his claim.

Woyome was closing his evidence-in-chief at the Accra Fast Track High court.

He is being tried for defrauding the state by false pretence and causing financial loss which he has denied, since June 5, 2012.

According to state prosecutors, Woyome in February 2010, made false representations to the government that it owed him two per cent of 1,106,470,587 Euros for his financial engineering services rendered for the rehabilitation of the Accra, Kumasi and El-Wak stadia, ahead of the African Cup of Nations, CAN 2008, hosted by Ghana.

He is further accused of ‘willfully and fraudulently causing a huge financial loss’ of GHc 51,283,480.59 to the state, between September 2010 and September 2011.

Led in evidence by his counsel, Osafo Buabeng, the accused read portions of the document between the state and Shanghai Company but state prosecutors objected to it since it did not emanate from a proper custody.

According to Mrs. Yvonne Attakora Obuobisa, a Chief State Attorney, the MoU was between Ghana and Shanghai and not the accused and could not authenticate the document and cited Section 136 of the Evidence Decree to buttress her assertion.

She argued that the accused does not work with the company, was not a party to the MoU, not a government official and not the competent person to tender the document in evidence.

Mrs. Obuobisa submitted that even though the document had been signed it was not stamped and that for fairness to prevail, the court should not admit it in evidence.

Responding, Mr. Buabeng contended that the court should be bound by its earlier decision on issues pertaining to custody and authenticity.

He argued that it was a public document between the state and Shanghai Company and that the prosecution was not challenging authenticity so the section quoted was completely irrelevant.

Mr. Buabeng submitted that the relevant portion was rather Section 51 of the Evidence Decree and prayed the court to admit the document in evidence.

The court, presided over by Justice John Ajet-Nassam, wondered why the prosecution did not raise objections to other public documents but was raising an object to this one.

He ruled that “it will be great injustice if he upheld the objection and that the document should be admitted in evidence”.

When accused was asked that the state alleged that he did not work but was paid over GHc 41 million, he indicated that it was not correct and that the state was aware he worked and spent money for working for a period of four years.

Asked whether opinions were sought before he was paid, Woyome replied in the affirmative and read portions of a letter dated April 29, 2010 written by the then Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Betty Mould-Iddrisu to the then Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr. Kwabena Duffour, and copied to the then Chief of Staff, Martey Newman which resulted in the payment of his claim.

Asked whether his claim was verified, accused replied in the affirmative and was quick to add that opinion sought from all the stakeholders concluded that his claim was genuine.

Woyome said at a meeting with all the stakeholders it was decided that his claim and that of Waterville should be presented differently but the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning later reneged on the payment.

The court adjourned to July 10. By Winston Tamakloe

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