Woyome Had No Agreement With Bank — Witness

Alfred WoyomeThe ninth prosecution witness in the case involving businessman, Alfred Agbesi Woyome, in respect of judgement debt, yesterday told the Financial Division of the Accra Fast Track High Court that responses from the Bank of Austria to two institutions in Ghana indicated that there was no agreement to provide funding for any project in Ghana.

The two institutions, the Police Administration and the Attorney-General’s Department, had written to the bank for responses as to whether Mr. Woyome had any agreement with the bank to provide funding for projects in the country.

The witness, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Edward Odame Okyere, an investigator with the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service said the bank’s response was also that there was no binding offer from it to fund projects in Ghana.

ASP Okyere was testifying before the court, presided over by Justice John Ajet-Nasam in the case in which Mr. Woyome is being tried for defrauding by false pretences and causing financial loss to the state, charges. Woyome, has since June 5, 2012, denied the charges.

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

He is further accused of “willfully and fraudulently, causing a huge financial loss’ of GH¢51,283,480.49 to the state, between September 2010 and September 2011.

Before proceedings commenced, the legal team of Mr. Woyome, led by Osarfo Buabeng, drew the court’s attention to statements made by a former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Martin Amidu, published in the Daily Graphic of Tuesday November 5, 2013 alluding to the fact that Mr. Woyome had committed crimes with foreign collaborators.

He argued that the statement was highly prejudicial to the case and that a person of such high calibre and well vested in the law should desist from making such derogatory statements.

Mr. Buabeng said he was surprised the Attorney General’s Department had overlooked such a prejudicial comment when the case was pending in court.

“In the interest of justice, we are not happy about the comment that Mr. Woyome had committed crimes against the state with foreign collaborators and that the Attorney General’s Department had remained silent on the issue,” he said.

Mr. Buabeng prayed the court to summon Mr. Amidu before it to explain the rationale behind making such statements since he was not above the law.
“There is the likelihood that the statement of Mr. Amidu will operate in the mind of the court,” he said.
Responding, Mr. Matthew Amponsah, a chief state attorney, who led ASP Okyere in evidence, said his outfit had not read the statement and could not comment and indicated that at the appropriate time it would respond.

Justice Ajet-Nasam ignored the protest by Mr. Woyome’s legal team, though it invited both legal counsel to the bench for a discussion.
When proceedings continued, ASP Okyere said “officials of the Bank of Austria in response to both the Police Administration and the Attorney General’s Department, said there was also no agreement with the bank to fund the construction and rehabilitation of stadia for the hosting of the CAN 2008 African Cup of Nations.”

Witness said another fax received through the Ghana Embassy in Bern, Switzerland, to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Intergration, indicated that there was no contractual agreement between Mr. Woyome and the bank binding it to provide funds for projects in respect of CAN 2008 African Cup of Nations.

ASP Okyere tendered documents in evidence to support his assertion. However, the original forwarding letter could not be traced through intelligence search leading to the tendering of a photo copy which was not objected by defence counsel.

Witness said Mr. Woyome indicated that he was the Altemate Director of Austra-Invest while Ray Smith was the Director when procurement bids were submitted to the Central Tender Review Board.

He said the board elevated Vameed Engineering as the emerging company for the CAN 2008 African Cup of Nations project through concurrent approval.

ASP Okyere said during the procurement procedures, the board terminated the contract of Vameed Engineering as it could not secure funding for the stadia project and also affected Waterville when Vameed Engineering subletted the project to Waterville Holdings.

Witness said due to pressure from FIFA and CAF to inspect the projects at a particular time, the termination of the project affected Waterville’s agreement with the government.

During certain stages of the evidence, counsel for Mr. Woyome objected to the mode of evidence being led by the state prosecutors, indicating that they (state prosecutors) had ventured beyond particulars of offence which were irrelevant to the issues at stake before the court.

Responding, Mr. Amponsah reminded the court that evidence by the eight other witnesses were within the charge sheet which were already in evidence.

He wondered why counsel for the accused person was objecting to evidence before the court. When proceedings commenced, ASP Okyere said the termination of Waterville’s contract with the government paved the way for Consar and Michellette to be awarded the contract for the construction of the Tamale and Essipon stadia and the rehabilitation of the Kumasi, Accra and El-Wak stadia.
Hearing continues on November 19.  By Winston Tamakloe

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