Woyome’s properties to UT-Transfer documents not valid — Chief State Attorney

BY: Mabel Aku Baneseh
 Mr Alfred Woyome
Mr Alfred Woyome

The documents covering the transfer of two properties of the businessman, Mr Alfred Agbei Woyome, to then UT Bank are not valid, says a Chief State Attorney, Mrs Stella Badu.

According to her, there were no stamps on the documents, as required by law to complete the transfer.

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She was giving evidence under cross-examination from Mr J. A. Akuoku, counsel for the receivers of the defunct UT Bank

The state is seeking to prove that then UT Bank through its receivers and Mr Woyome were colluding to prevent the sale of two mansions of Mr Woyome to offset part of the GH¢ 47.2 million that he owes the state following a Supreme Court July 2014 order directing him to refund the money paid to him through judgement debt.

Mrs Badu was earlier led by a Deputy Attorney-General, Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, to inform the court that she stood by witness statements she had deposed to.


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The witness deposed in her witness statements that searches proved the properties in dispute were still registered in the name of Mr Woyome and for that reason the state could proceed to auction them to offset part of his debts.

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Cross-examination

Mr Akuoku, during the cross- examination of Mrs Badu, sought to establish that the properties in question belonged to then UT Bank, but Mrs Badu disagreed with him.

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She insisted the processes for the transfer of the two properties located at Trasacco Valley in Accra made the transfer invalid.

Speaking about one of the properties, Mrs Badu said “on the face of the record, there is nothing on record to suggest the property was valued and stamp duty paid.”

She described communication between the bank and the businessman over the transfers as “just intentions,” adding that no valid transfer from Mr Woyome to UT Bank was executed.

Objection

Mr Dame raised an objection when the counsel for Woyome, Ms Petrina Defia, announced the intention of her team to cross-examine Mrs Badu on the grounds that they had ample time to file the necessary processes.

The deputy attorney-general also argued that Mr Woyome’s legal team had all along aligned themselves with the receivers and for that reason they were not entitled to cross-examine the witness.

But the sole judge, Mr Justice A. A. Bennin, disagreed with Mr Dame and said the rules of natural justice required that Mr Woyome be given the opportunity to cross-examine the witness.

Mr Defia further sought leave of the court to file statements but the court declined and said that opportunity was no longer available.

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.

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