Court orders Woyome to avail himself for oral examination

BY: Mabel Aku Banaseh

The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered businessman, Mr Alfred Agbesi Woyome, to avail himself to be orally examined on how he expended the GH¢51.2 million judgement debt wrongfully awarded to him.

Mr Woyome had, through his lawyers, applied for a review of the court’s earlier decision, which dismissed his application challenging his oral examination.

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His application was aimed at halting the oral examination.

But the court in a unanimous decision on Wednesday held that “the application herein is a red herring that counsel for the applicant has just introduced as a further illustration of his delay mechanism.”

The court, presided over by Mr Justice William Atuguba, with Justices Sophia Adinyira and Jones Victor Dotse as members, accordingly dismissed Mr Woyome’s application. A date is yet to be fixed for the continuation of the oral examination. Mr Woyome was, however, absent in court.

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Mr Woyome in his application claimed that his fundamental human Rights were being violated by the decision of the court ordering his oral examination.

His second reason for his application was that the Supreme Court, in its order, breached sections of its own rules of court as provided for in the High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2004, C.I 47.

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The oral examination of Mr Woyome began on July 24, 2017 and at the hearing, he told the Supreme Court that he was not engaged in any form of business because he had sold his shares in his companies to fund his legal battles with the state.

According to him, since his arrest and subsequent prosecution after the state had paid him GH¢51.2 million in judgement debt, he had become a frequent patron of the law courts, all in an effort to protect his rights.

“I have been a businessman since I returned to the country in 1999 until the day of my infamous arrest in 2011 or so. I don’t really remember the exact year. Since that arrest and prosecution, I have not functioned again as a businessman because I have been fighting day in, day out in court. My shares in companies were traded to fund the legal fees,’’ he said.

Mr Woyome made the revelation during his much-anticipated oral examination by a Deputy Attorney-General (A-G), Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame.

The state intends to use the oral examination to know the properties and the businesses owned by Mr Woyome in order to retrieve GH¢47.2 million he owed the state after he had paid GH¢4 million in November 2016.

Mr Woyome was ordered by the Supreme Court in 2014 to repay the GH¢51.2 million judgement debt because he had no valid contract with the state.

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He later filed an application to truncate his oral examination but the court dismissed it resulting in him filing an application for review, which was also dismissed on Wednesday.

Woyome escaped jail term in 2015 after the Fast Track High Court acquitted and discharged him on two counts of defrauding by false pretence and causing financial loss to the state.

But the state has been pursuing him to refund the GH¢51.2 million he received as judgment debt for his role in the construction of the stadia for the CAN 2008 tournament held in Ghana after the Supreme Court declared the payment illegal.