State to cross-examine UT over Woyome’s properties

BY: Mabel Aku Baneseh

The state is expected to cross examine the receiver of UT Bank to ascertain whether or not the receiver was the actual owner of two of Mr Alfred Agbesi Woyome’s properties currently being claimed by the state to offset part of his GH₵47.2 million indebtedness to the state.

Steps to auction Mr Woyome’s assets to defray his GH₵51.2 million were met with resistance from then UT Bank, which claimed ownership over two of the properties.

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Mr Woyome has so far paid GH₵4 million.

A Deputy Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, is expected to conduct the cross examination on October 22, 2018.

The Receiver of defunct UT Bank, Mr Eric Nana Nipahm was expected to be cross examined today, October 15, 2018, after the necessary documents claiming ownership over some of Woyome’s assets had been filed.


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But at the court’s hearing in Accra today, counsel for the receiver, Mr J. A. Akuoku, explained that his client was out of the jurisdiction.

The presiding judge, Mr Justice A. A. Bennin, adjourned hearing to October 22, 2018.

Read also: Supreme Court wasn’t fair - Woyome tells African Human Rights Court

Accusation

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Meanwhile, the state is accusing Mr Nipah, one of the directors of audit firm Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC), and Mr Woyome of colluding to prevent the state from auctioning his property to offset he debt he owed the state.

The Attorney-General argues that the businessman used the said properties as collateral to secure a loan in excess of GH₵9 million from the bank, months after the bank claimed to have bought the properties.

The two properties in dispute are two residential facilities located at Trassaco Valley estates.

Mr Nipah claimed the bank acquired them on April 5, 2013, and May 13, 2014, respectively.

But a witness statement opposing the receiver’s claims and made by a Chief State Attorney, Mrs Stella Badu, indicated that the bank permitted Mr Woyome to use the Trasacco Valley properties to secure a loan 11 and 12 months after the bank claimed to have bought the properties.

The state is also challenging three persons who are claiming ownership of a third residential property at Accra New Town.

Twists

The UT Bank in April 2016 claimed ownership of the properties when the state attempted to auction them to defray the GH¢51.2 million the businessman owed the state.

The Manet Towers branch of then UT Bank claimed two residential properties at Trasacco in Accra.

Lawyers for then UT Bank, Manet Towers, Airport City, Archer, Archer and Co., filed a notice of claim at the High Court for the properties and served notice on the Attorney-General’s Department.

The effect of the claims was that the state cannot sell those properties until it is proved that the bank’s claim is false.

Background

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 went to the International Court of Arbitration to contest the court’s decision 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 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.