The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights based in Arusha, Tanzania, has dismissed an application for review filed by businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome, in the case in which he is fighting a decision of the Supreme Court of Ghana that ordered the sale of his property.
In July, 2019, the Supreme Court of Ghana ordered the state to sell off Mr Woyome’s assets to offset the remaining GH₵47.2 million judgement debt wrongly paid him by the state six years ago.
Prior to the judgement, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights had stated that Mr Woyome’s right was not violated, neither was he discriminated against by the Supreme Court.
On March 4, 2020, Mr Woyome filed an application for review of the court’s initial judgement.
Among his prayer to the African Human Rights Court was a request for provisional measures which was accompanied by supporting affidavit and new evidence.
But in the judgement of the court delivered on June 26, 2020, the seven-member panel of judges said, “in light of the foregoing, the court finds that the supporting document adduced does not constitute new evidence which was not within the knowledge of the applicant at the time the initial judgment was delivered, as contemplated by Article 28(3) of the Protocol and Rule 67(1) of the Rules.”
The court noted that the supporting document submitted by Mr Woyome has no correlation with the court’s initial judgement, which is the subject of the review.
“In other words, it is not related to his claims that the truncation of proceedings and assumption of jurisdiction by the respondent’s State’s Supreme Court and the conduct of the review bench of the Supreme Court resulted in violations of his rights under Articles 2 and 3 of the Charter.”
As regards the request for provisional measures, the court held that having found the application for review inadmissible, the request for those measures becomes moot.
The court further held that, in accordance with Article 27(2) of the Protocol and Rule 51(1) of the Rules, it is empowered to order provisional measures in cases of extreme gravity when necessary to avoid irreparable harm to persons and which it deems necessary to adopt in the interest of the parties or of justice.
“The court observes that, the applicant by his own admission in his supporting affidavit, indicated that he has been unable to come to an agreement with the respondent State on a payment plan for the judgement debt that he owes it, having failed to secure such an agreement, the applicant seeks to use the court to forestall the proceedings going on in the national courts.”
A few weeks ago, the Supreme Court advised the lawyers for the state being represented by Mr Godred Yeboah Dame, a Deputy Attorney-General who also represented the State at the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights to mobilise resources to acquire the assets of Mr Woyome.
The advice came on the backdrop of the fact that those who had expressed interest in the property continue to receive threats from faceless persons.
The assets include two houses located at Trassaco, the office complex of Anator Holdings, a mining quarry and two residential buildings at Caprice and Abelemkpe, Accra, all valued at GH¢20 million.
The businessman had already refunded about GH¢4 million to the State following the pronouncement by the Supreme Court in July 2019, ordering the sale of some of his assets.
The Supreme Court on July 29, 2014, ordered Mr Woyome to refund the GH¢51.2 million paid to him for the construction of stadia for CAN 2008 on grounds that the money was ill-gotten.
The court held that the contracts upon which Woyome received the claim were in contravention of Article 181(5) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, which requires that such contracts must be taken to Parliament for approval.
On March 1, 2016, Mr Woyome asked the court to give him three years to pay back the money, but the court turn down his request.
He, however, refunded GH¢4 million in November, 2016, and promised to clear the outstanding balance by quarterly instalments of GH¢5 million, commencing April 1, 2017.
The businessman, subsequently initiated a litany of legal cases in Ghana and abroad, including the International Court of Arbitration, International Chamber of Commerce, based in Paris, France, and the African Court of Justice in Arusha, Tanzania.
BY MALIK SULLEMANA