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General News
President Mills Defends Woyome... 12/24/2011

The latest twist in the Alfred Woyome GH¢58 million saga has seen the President of the Republic of Ghana, John Evans Atta-Mills, jump to the defence of his number one bankroller by stating that Mr Woyome deserves to be paid every amount he has received so far.

In justifying the payment of GH¢58 million to Mr Alfred Woyome, President Mills said: “if the court awarded the judgement or awarded the cost, whatever it is, it’s a way of saying that the beneficiary is entitled to it.”

The President made this known in an interview on radio gold today. President Mills assured Mr Woyome and other beneficiaries of judgement debts under his tenure that “that I am not out to embarrass them.... the country must know the size of those debts, who incurred them.”

According to President Mills, “the issue is not whether the amount was paid [to Woyome], or who paid it” and has subsequently refocused the mandate of the Economic and Organised Crimes Office (EOCO) to find out “who incurred the liability”.

Reinforcing his position, President Mills said “unfortunately since this case broke, many people have turned themselves into lawyers and i’m yet to hear anyone talk about whether the liability which was incurred was as a result of a wilful causation of financial loss.”
He continued, “It is one issue which we will have to look at and other issues, who were responsible?”
In an interview with the Chairman of the New Patriotic Party, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, he expressed his surprise at the stance adopted by the President. According to Jake, President Mills is playing partisan politics with the issue. Jake further added that the President Mills’ statement is an indication that he is not interested in finding out the truth about the Woyome issue, because in his [Mills] own words, “if the court awarded the judgement or awarded the cost, whatever it is, it’s a way of saying that the beneficiary is entitled to it.”
In a related development, the statement by deputy Attorney General, Ebo Barton Oduro, to the effect that Government had no defence to the claim brought against it by Alfred Woyome has been debunked by Nana Asante Bediatuo, a legal practitioner.

In the opinion of Nana Bediatuo, the Attorney-General’s Department had sufficient grounds to contest the Woyome case in court, adding that its decision not to contest the case constituted “a curious and indefensible position”.

Nana Bediatuo stated that Woyome’s claim in Court gives 2001 as the period during which his claim arose. In light of this Nana stated that “the defence of fraud and misrepresentation as well as the defence of limitation are available to the
Attorney General.”
“Woyome sued in 2010 on claims he says arose in 2001; that is, eight years after his cause of action arose. Yet, the law in Ghana is that one cannot bring a
claim based on contract six years after the claim accrued. There is a statute of limitation and this means that no person can bring a claim founded on contract which is more than six years old,” Nana Bediatuo said.

The claim by Mr Woyome to the effect that he was suing on the basis of an assignment of rights from Waterville was debunked by Nana Bediatuo.

Nana stated that Waterville admitted per their lawyer’s letter to the then Chief of Staff, Kwadwo Mpiani, in December 2006 that they had received their due under the contract that was terminated in August 2006. “How can anyone maintain a claim against Government in the face of Waterville’s admission that they were not owed by Government? What rights were they purporting to assign to Woyome and upon which Woyome could found a claim?” Nana Bediatuo asked.

In the opinion of Nana Asante Bediatuo, the payment of all of the judgment debt to Woyome smacks of fraud, collusion and abuse of court process. “This is because we now know that by the time the AG had issued a fresh writ to set aside the consent judgment based on mistake (fraud) Woyome had already been paid 41 million Ghana Cedis”, Nana Bediatuo explained .
Source: The New Statesman

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