The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights has unanimously dismissed a case filed by businessman, Alfred Agbesi Woyome, against Ghana.
The court said Woyome’s right to non-discrimination, right to equality before the law, equal protection before the law and his right to be heard by an impartial tribunal had all not been violated.
Woyome has been ordered by the court in Ghana to refund GHȻ 51.2 milion paid him in 2009 as judgment debt.
He received the amount following a default judgement after he said government had abrogated financial engineering services he had with the state.
Since the order to refund the money, Woyome has been to different courts challenging the state’s effort to retrieve the money.
The state has identified some properties in an effort to have them sold to defray the debt, and Woyome went to the African Court hoping to stop the auctioning of his properties.
He secured an order from the court not to sell the properties until the case has been determined.
Woyome had argued, this right was violated because a Supreme Court judge Justice Jones Dotse had made some personal remarks against him when he brought the controversial judgement debt saga to the court for constitutional interpretation.
Justice Dotse expressed a personal opinion on a non-constitutional matter when he stated Mr Woyome had “entered into an alliance to create, loot and share the resources of this country as if a brigade had been set up for such an enterprise”.
Woyome alleged at the African Court in May 2018, this comment denied him the right to be heard by an impartial tribunal as he lost the constitutional case at the Supreme Court.
But the African Court ruling on this matter, said Justice Dotse although he wrote the lead judgment on the constitutional matter, he was only one of the 11 judges.
The Arusha-based court also found that “the applicant has not demonstrated or substantiated how he has been discriminated against or treated differently”.
The Malawian judge, Lady Justice Tujilane Rose Chizumila , also said the court could not grant the applicant’s request for reparations because no violation had been established.
The court decided not to award cost to any party.
Following the judgement, Deputy Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Godfred Dame, has said, “It affirms the point that the state has always dealt fairly with Woyome and respected his rights.”
He stressed, “The decision from the African Court marks the end of Woyome’s tricks and machinations. It is a boost to the government in its quest to recover the funds he illicitly and unconstitutionally obtained from the state.”