Moves by the Attorney-General’s (A-G’s) Department to sell businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome’s properties to defray a GH¢51.2 million judgement debt has taken a new turn, with the UT Bank claiming ownership of two of those properties.
The Manet Towers branch of UT Bank is claiming two residential properties at Trasacco in Accra, Daily Graphic has learnt.
Lawyers for UT?Bank, Manet Towers, Airport City, Archer, Archer and Co., have filed a notice of claim at the High Court for the properties. They have since served notice on the A-G’s Department.
The effect of this latest development is that the state cannot sell those properties until it is proved that the bank’s claim is false.
A source at the A-G’s Department told the Daily Graphic that the state would contest the claim.
“We are definitely contesting the claim. They have to prove ownership,” the source said in an interview yesterday.
That, meanwhile, is not preventing the state from pursuing other properties belonging to the businessman.
The Supreme Court, on July 29, 2014, ordered Woyome to refund GH¢51.2 million to the state on the grounds that he got the money out of unconstitutional and invalid contracts between the state and Waterville Holdings Limited in 2006 for the construction of stadia for CAN 2008.
Woyome has gone to the International Court of Arbitration to contest the court’s decision.
He served notice after reneging on his promise to the Supreme Court to pay the money by the end of December 2015.
On March 1, 2016, Woyome prayed the court to give him three years to pay back the money but the court declined to grant his wish.
The court had in the 2014 review decision, held that the contracts upon which Woyome made and received the claim were in contravention of Article 181 (5) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, which requires such contracts to be laid before and approved by Parliament.
The 11-member court, presided over by the Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, was ruling on a review application filed by a former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr Martin Amidu, who brought the initial action praying the court to order Woyome to pay the money.
June 14, 2013 judgement
The court had on June 14, 2013 directed the international construction firm Waterville Holdings Limited (BVI) to refund all the money paid to it by the Ghana government on the premise that it had no valid and constitutional contractual agreement with the government.
Waterville is expected to refund more than 25 million euros it received from the government following the court’s judgement that the said contract it entered into with the government for stadia construction for CAN 2008 was unconstitutional.
That was because it had contravened Article 181 (5) of the 1992 Constitution, which required such contracts to go to Parliament for approval.
A former Attorney-General, Mr Martin Amidu, had, in the original suit, prayed the court to order Woyome to refund the money he had received as a result of the void contract the government had entered into with Waterville Holdings.
But the court declined jurisdiction over the issue, with the reason that the Attorney-General was pursuing the matter at the Commercial Court to retrieve the money. But the court reversed its position on July 29, 2014 and thus quashed all processes at the Commercial Court.
Contract null and void
In the Waterville judgement, the court declared as null and void and of no operative effect a contract titled: “Contract for the Rehabilitation (Design, Construction, Fixtures, Fittings and Equipment) of a 40,000 Seating Capacity Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi, Ghana” entered into between the Republic of Ghana and Waterville Holdings (BVI) Limited of P.O. Box 3444, Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands, on April 26, 2006.
Meanwhile, Woyome walked out of the premises of the Court of Appeal a free man on March 10, 2016 after the court exonerated him from the charge of causing financial loss to the state in the controversial GH¢51.2 million judgement debt paid to him by the state.
He escaped prison for the second time in a year after the court, in a unanimous decision, declined to grant the state’s prayer for the overturn of his acquittal and discharge granted by the High Court on March 12, 2015.
The High Court, presided over by Mr Justice John Ajet-Nasam, had acquitted and discharged Woyome on two counts of defrauding by false pretences, contrary to Section 131 (1) of the Criminal Offences Act (1960), Act 29, and causing financial loss to the State, contrary to Section 179 A (3) (a) of the Criminal Offences Act (1960), Act 29.
But the state appealed on the grounds that the trial judge erred in law in not considering the evidence adduced by the prosecution.
However, the Court of Appeal held a different position and freed him again.