The history of the Fourth Republic of Ghana has witnessed the payment of several million cedis to certain individuals and companies operating in the country. These huge payments have come to be known as “judgement debt”. The most scandalous, irreverent and shameful of all judgement debts was the “gargantuan” amount paid to Alfred Agbesi Woyome.
The term “gargantuan” has, subsequently, become known to many Ghanaians in connection with this payment. Woyome claimed former President, John Agyekum Kufuor and the NPP, offered him a multi-million contract to build stadia in some chosen regions. The government claimed that no such contracts were awarded to Woyome.
He produced documents that were supposed to have been signed by the government. They were all fakes. He could not claim judgement debt but when his own party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), came to power, he tried again.
Alfred Agbesi Woyome, is an astute business man, born on the 22nd January 1965 and a product of Bishop Herman College, Kpando, in the Volta Region. He is a staunch member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), and a former Vice Consul of Austria to Ghana. He still maintained that the contract was legally awarded and that it was rather the NPP government that erred. Woyome could not fight for judgement debt because he knew the documents he was holding were faked.
The court also ruled that having gone through his documents, Woyome had no contract and there was, therefore, no reason to pay him any judgement debts.
Alfred Woyome is a staunch member of NDC so he decided to appeal when the NDC came to power. In 2009, Woyome seized the opportunity to appeal at the Supreme Court. The then president, Prof. Mills, who had travelled out of the country, issued instructions to the Attorney General, Mrs Betty Mould Iddrissu, to suspend payment to Woyome. She disregarded the instructions and ordered an amount of GHC51.2 million to be paid to Woyome.
A few months later, an investigative team of the NPP, published a list of all those who received “thank you” money from Woyome’s GHC51.2. They included high profile members of the NDC. Indeed the journalist Kwesi Pratt also received GHC10,000, being the lowest received from Woyome. At a press confereence, the NPP claimed that receiving money from Woyome was criminal because the judgement debt was wrongly paid. Kwesi Pratt tried to return the money to Woyome, but the latter refused to accept it. Woyome seemed to say, “if I fall, I fall with all of you”. Aye huuhuuhu!
The NDC quickly came out to say that they also had a list of top NPP members who also benefitted from Woyome’s “illegal” money. However, Woyome insisted that the list published by the NPP purporting to be the beneficiaries of the judgement debt was concocted. He came out to say that what he does with his private and personal business was nobody’s business and that all the claims by NPP were politically jaundiced.
The embattled businessman and financier of NDC party, Alfred Woyome, said out of frustration that he was not happy about the way his personal life was so abused in such a blatant way. The Communications Director of NPP, Nana Akomeah, affirmed at a news conference in Accra that Woyome was not the sole beneficiary of the judgement debt. He added that it was Woyome himself who made a list of all those who benefited from the GHC51.2 million. The alleged beneficiaries are, the former Attorney General Mrs Betty Mould Iddrissu, General Secretary of NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketi, Deputy General Secretary, Koku Anyidoho, former head of Agricultural Development bank (ADB), Steve Kpordzi, Editor of the Insight Newspaper, Kwesi Pratt, the NDC party itself, and many more.
The NDC party say they also have names of top executives of the NPP who are beneficiaries of Woyome’s GHC51.2 million As a strategy they have not given out any names. They will open up the Pandora’s box only when Woyome is brought before the prosecutor. Aye huuhuuhu!
This is how the situation is. Will the prosecutor dare bring Woyome to justice? You now understand why Woyome struts and frets and nothing happens. Is the NPP afraid of what will come out of the Pandora’s box.
It is clear that it has become more difficult and complex to prosecute him or demand the judgement debt of GHC51.2 million. Woyome’s trump card is simple: he knows that when he falls, he will not go alone. When the giant baobab tree falls, all plants and all small trees in its way suffer.
It is hoped that the Private Prosecutor, Mr Martin Amidu, will defy all odds and bring all corrupt offenders, including Woyome, to face justice and claim whatever is to be claimed from them in Ghana’s interest.
Columnist: Stephen Atta Owusu