Mr. Martin Alamisi Amidu, former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice has been given the green light by the Supreme Court to orally examine businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome on oath.
This is to ascertain whether Mr. Woyome has what it takes to pay back the GH¢51.2 million he took from the state as a judgement debt.
The court, presided by Mr. Justice Anin Yeboah, yesterday ordered Mr. Woyome to avail himself at 10am next week Thursday, November 24, for the commencement of the oral examination.
The institution of the latest action by Mr. Amidu might have been necessitated by a notice the Attorney-General filed to discontinue the oral examination of Mr. Woyome.
The Notice of Discontinuance dated October 26, at the Attorney-General’s chambers in Accra, read: “Please take notice that the first Defendant Judgement Creditor herein has this day discontinued the present application to orally examine the third Defendant Judgement Debtor with liberty to re-apply.”
It should be noted that the AG’s Department had earlier filed an affidavit on October 19, asking the Supreme Court to order Mr. Woyome to appear before it on Thursday, November 10, at 9 am “to be examined orally on oath by the 1st Defendant/Judgement/Creditor/Applicant herein” to ascertain whether he had any property or other means of satisfying the judgement.
It, therefore, came as a surprise to Mr. Amidu why the AG had back-tracked on her earlier notice to examine Mr. Woyome orally on oath, and therefore filed an affidavit at the apex court pleading with it to grant him (Amidu) the opportunity to orally examine Mr. Woyome on oath instead, which the court ruled in his favour yesterday.
Mr. Amidu’s affidavit, among others, read:
“I am the plaintiff/applicant and the deponent herein, and an interested party to the application by the Attorney-General to this court and the order granted on 19th October, 2016, to examine orally on oath the third Defendant/Respondent/Judgement Debtor on the questions whether any debts are owing to the judgement debtor and whether the judgement debtor has any property or other means of satisfying the judgement or order of this court.”
In his ruling, Mr. Justice Anin Yeboah said the action initiated by Mr. Amidu to recover the money was in the interest of the state, rather than his personal gain.
“It must be made abundantly clear that Mr. Amidu is not the direct beneficiary of the money, but as a citizen, he has the right to institute this action in the interest of the state under Article 2 of the 1992 constitution.”
He said at the time the AG filed a notice of discontinuance, there was no execution process pending against Mr. Woyome at the Supreme Court and, for that matter, the colossal amount of the judgement debt could not be swept under the carpet or left unpaid.
Touching on the dismissal of Mr. Amidu’s affidavit as suggested by the Deputy Attorney-General, Dr. Dominic Ayine, a week ago to the effect that it contained hearsay evidence and also sought to impugn the integrity of the current Attorney-General, Mrs. Marietta Brew Appiah-Opong, the judge said that could not be done.
According to him, the court could only strike out portions of the affidavit which contained scandalous information and had the propensity of denting another person’s hard-earned reputation.
Mr. Justice Anin Yeboah stressed that it was incumbent on the court to strike out the portions of the affidavit it deemed frivolous and did not have substance with regard to the issue at stake, but not to strike out the document in its entirety as the deputy minister wanted.
The stage is now set for Mr. Amidu and Mr. Woyome to meet on Thursday, November 24, to set the records straight on whether the judgement debtor (Mr. Woyome) has any property or other means of satisfying the judgement, in other words, any means of paying back the GH¢51.2 million judgement debt he benefitted.
By Castro Zangina-Tong