The New Patriotic Party is accusing the Mahama-led administration of deliberately not pursuing embattled businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome to retrieve the 51.2 million cedis judgment debt.
Addressing a press conference Thursday at the party’s headquarters, the Communications Director of the party, Nana Akomea, stated that the lack of proper evidence to implicate Woyome is a clear indication that government was conniving with some party members to loot the state.
“That the twist and turns that led to Mr Woyome being paid the GHS51.2 million clearly show a deliberate pattern of high-ranking NDC officials, aided by highly placed public servants, to connive and conspire with people, who are NDC-connected, to steal or misappropriate taxpayers’ money,” he stated.
“That the element of these classic plots of deliberate connivance and collusion are all present in the Woyome payout. In this particular case, the president at the time, President John Evans Atta Mills – that’s what we are told in the EOCO report – ordered that no monies should be paid to Mr Woyome, and that the ministers should go to court to defend the state.
“When they went to court, the same twist and turns evident in the Woyome case, had been replicated and runs through other massive fraudulent payouts, including the payout to Messrs Waterville, GYEEDA, SADA, Smarttys, and the like.”
Below is the full statement by the NPP
THE WOYOME ACQUITTAL SHOWS THAT THE PLOT OF “CREATE, LOOT AND SHARE” CONTINUES UNABATED
On Thursday March 12 2015, the High Court in Accra acquitted Mr. Alfred Woyome from criminal charges brought against him by the Attorney General.
Last Thursday 10 March 2016, the Appeals Court upheld the decision of the High Court to acquit Mr. Woyome on the charges of defrauding by false pretence and causing financial loss to the state.
Both acquittals were secured on the ground that the state had not presented a convincing case to the courts.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) like a vast number of Ghanaians, is not surprised at these turn of events regarding the criminal prosecution of Mr. Woyome over the NDC government’s payment to him of taxpayers monies to the tune of Gh¢51.8m in 2010.
The twists and turns that led to Mr. Woyome being paid ¢51.8m of taxpayers monies in 2010 clearly showed a deliberate pattern of high ranking NDC government officials, aided by highly placed public servants to collude, connive and conspire with NDC connected individuals to misappropriate taxpayers monies.
The elements of this classic plot of deliberate connivance and collusion are all present in the Woyome payout.
In this particular case, President John Mills (We are told in a EOCO report) at some point intervened and ordered that no public monies should be paid to Mr. Woyome and that Ministers should go to court to defend the state.
The High Court also ordered in September 2010 that only a third of the monies should be paid to Mr. Woyome pending the determination of the case. Despite these interventions, ministers of State aided by highly placed public and civil servants still went ahead and managed to pay the colossal amount ofGh¢51.8m (about $35 million) to Mr. Woyome.
One Supreme Court Judge, sitting in the civil case against Mr. Woyome, in trying to make sense out of these payments could only surmise that the payments can only be understood as a grand scheme to create, loot and share taxpayer’s monies.
Ladies and Gentlemen, sad to say the formula of ‘create, loot and share’, evident in the payment to Mr. Woyome, has turned out to be just the dress rehearsal. The same twists and turns which ended with the payment of massive amounts of tax payers’ monies to Mr. Woyome have since been replicated and runs through other massive fraudulent payments involving Waterville, GYEEDA, SADA and the latest episode of Smartty’s bus branding etc.
The same pattern, the same collusion, the same conniving, the same sequencing of events that made the Woyome payment possible can be seen in all of these other payments.
Let’s take the Waterville payment. Messrs Waterville makes a claim. Mr. Woyome writes to dispute the Waterville claim, and made a claim for himself. Waterville then wrote to dispute the Woyome claim. Then Waterville’s lawyer is removed from this case, and Mr. Woyome’s lawyer now wrote for both previously feuding parties. The two parties even settle on an accord on how the monies would be shared, thus showing how confident they were of being paid. Over $20 million of taxpayers monies were subsequently paid.
The same pattern is repeated in the GYEEDA payments. A handful of “service providers” are given “training” contracts. Only a small fraction of people are “trained”. Yet full payments are made even before the trainings start. Then more training proposals follow, more contracts are given again, full payments are advanced again and only a fraction is “trained” again!! And it went on and on.
You take SADA. In election year 2012, government claimed it went into partnership with a private entity to venture into guinea fowl (akonfem ) business. The government promptly paid a whopping Ghc15 million ($9 million at the time), as its share of capital requirements. Up till today, there is no record of the private company paying its share of the capital requirements.
As if that was not bad enough, the government also promptly paid another even more whooping Ghc32 million to the same private company to engage in tree planting.
As l speak, there is no trace of the akonfem business or the trees. Akonfem has now become another by-word for corruption in this country.
The recent bus branding saga sees the pattern repeated. The job was awarded, and executed even before a contract was executed with the contractor. In this case, the contract sum was overpaid by over 100%!
NDC GOVERNMENT ACTIONS/INACTIONS
Ladies and gentlemen,
since these payments became matters of public knowledge and of great public concern, the attitude of the NDC government, either in attempts in prosecutions or retrieval, have been so lackadaisical as to give further credence to the plot of create, loot and share.
The High Court and Appeal Court judgments have already exposed the NDC government’s attitude in the case of the Woyome payment. The case was dismissed by both courts on the ground that the government could not show a convincing case. Indeed, the High Court berated the government for its lackadaisical attitude during the trial and for repeatedly wasting the time of the court. Indeed the trial judge fined the Attorney General Ghc 500 for this attitude.
The NDC government has been in court with criminal charges against Woyome since 2010. The question asked by many Ghanaians is how a conviction against Mr. Woyome can be secured when it was so obvious that there were high ranking public officials in collusion with Mr. Woyome , but none of whom had been brought to court? Even one high ranking public servant who had had huge monies paid into his bank account by Mr. Woyome, was not in court!!
Even the order by the Supreme Court on July 19, 2014, that the state retrieved the monies paid to Mr. Woyome was obtained by Mr. Martin Amidu, a private citizen.
It has been nearly two years since the Supreme Court ordered the retrieval (without interest) of the Woyome payment. To date, not a pesewa has been retrieved!
On GYEEDA, the government’s prosecution of one or two officials, set against the full recommendations of the government’s own committee, exposes the government’s lackadaisical response.
On SADA, the government officials did not ensure that the private company’s contribution to the equity was paid. There is no trace of the Akomfem nor the Trees for which so much taxpayers’ money were paid. Not a single government official who facilitated these payments has been punished. Not a single pesewa has been retrieved. And SADA is directly under the office of the President.
Even the retrievals that President Mahama himself ordered have only yielded a fraction.
On November 15 2013, President Mahama assured the nation “I have instructed the Minister for Justice and Attorney General, EOCO & the Minister for Finance to work with the Minister for Youth & Sports to achieve the following by 31st December 2013: secure refunds of monies wrongfully paid to or appropriated by any individuals or companies from contracts with SADA, Gyeeda and the Ghana Revenue Authority and to retrieve monies wrongfully paid to Waterville and Isofoton”. As the Gas will say “Ke ba Shi Biane”. Not a pesewa has been retrieved from Messrs Waterville and lsofoton today 17th March 2016, not to talk of the president’s deadline of December 2013!!
One key member of the GYEEDA investigation team, in obvious disappointment, recently remarked “We are being robbed. We are seriously being robbed and I think we need to be more radical about issues of corruption”. He continued “We brought all our expertise to bear on this investigation, but it took forever to get people to say we are going to act and deal with the people and issues in our report”.
Ladies and Gentlemen, these issues are not perception. These are the real issues and the real state of corruption and the fight against corruption, in Ghana today.
OPINION LEADERS VIEWS
Perhaps a recount of the sentiments experienced by real people, who are also opinion leaders, on this state of corruption in Ghana today will further illustrate the situation.
President Rawlings, after the high court acquittal of Mr. Woyome, remarked that the prosecution presented a poor case just to secure the acquittal and protect some people in government, and that 60% of thieves in the NDC government also hold positions in the party. He concluded with the question “Are we so stupid? Speaking further on the issue, in May 2015, (at WGHS event) President Rawlings observed that corruption today is no longer a practice but has become a pervasive culture.”
A senior NDC official Dr. Tony Aidoo had wondered why the NDC government cannot ensure refund of dubious judgment debts with the same alacrity as it pays out the taxpayers monies.
The State-Owned Daily Graphic in its editorial of October 3, 2014, observed: “The canker of corruption that has engulfed our country has become malignant now, as those involved in the act appear incorrigible. “It is spreading like a tumor.
As a result of the thievery and plunder of officials, the people are faced with numerous challenges that otherwise could have been taken care of by the country’s resources.”
Hon. Alban Bagbin in November 2014 remarked that people he has mentored who have become ministers have amassed so much wealth it is incredible.”
The Chief Justice on October 2014 commented that “everyday we read and hear of unspeakable corruption and abuse of public office by individuals and institutions entrusted with public funds. The situation has reached a Tipping Point.”
Mr Emile Short on 11th October 2014, on Joy FM NewsFile discussion, observed that ” this frightening proportions of corruption will continue until government devises effective measures to deal with it.”
General Nunoo Mensah observed last year that “corruption today is an epidemic”.
Ladies and Gentlemen, these are just a sample of the experience of corruption of real people who are also opinion leaders in Ghana today.
President Mahama has not shown the needed guts adequate to fight corruption.
There is a clear vacuum in the national leadership in the fight against corruption.
This is precisely why his presidency has seen the rise of civil society activism, protest and engagement in the fight against corruption.
As the three court judgements on the Woyome case shows, create, loot and share is still real in this country.
This country is bleeding from the wounds of corruption.
In this election year, let’s all join hands and say a big NO to corruption.
Let’s arise from this crisis.
Let’s arise for change
Director of Communications