Woyome takes A-G to African Court of Justice

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong
Mr Alfred Agbesi Woyome
Mr Alfred Agbesi Woyome

Mr Alfred Agbesi Woyome, a businessman, has dragged the Attorney-General (A-G) to the African Court of Justice in Arusha, Tanzania, in the matter of the GH¢51.2 million he owes the state.

In his view, the Supreme Court violated his human rights when it ruled that he should refund to the state the GH¢51.2 million which he obtained through court processes.

In April this year, Mr Woyome initiated a similar action at the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), arguing that the ruling by the Supreme Court that the judgement debt paid to him by the previous government was wrongfully obtained and he should, therefore, refund the money was a breach of his human rights.

Statement of case

 In his statement of claim at the African Court of Justice, Mr Woyome asserted that his right to equality before the law, fair trial and an impartial tribunal had been violated by the Supreme Court.

According to him, since the Supreme Court is the highest court of the land, he had no avenue in Ghana to ventilate his grievances but resort to the African Court of Justice after he had exhausted all local remedies.

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Per an arrangement between Mr Woyome and the Attorney-General, he started refunding the money by instalments in November last year.

According to the arrangement, he was supposed to have made a second part payment of GH¢5 million by April 1, 2017, but checks indicated that the second payment had not been made as of now.

Mr Woyome is to pay GH¢5 million every four months until the final payment is made on April 1, 2019, per the arrangement with the A-G last year.

ICC case

However, Mr Woyome, who is dissatisfied with the ruling by the Supreme Court, has resorted to the two international bodies, the ICC and the African Court of Justice, to determine the matter.

The A-G has been served with the African Court of Justice suit through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Oral examination

Meanwhile, the A-G has also filed a fresh motion asking the Supreme Court to order Mr Woyome to appear before it on June 28, 2017 to be orally examined regarding his indebtedness of GH¢51.2 million to the state.

An ex-parte motion filed on Friday, June 2, 2017 is, among other reliefs, seeking to know from Mr Woyome whether there is any property for satisfying the judgement dated July 29, 2014.

In 2016, Mrs Dorothy Afriyie-Ansah, a Chief State Attorney, filed a similar suit, but later filed a discontinuance based on the payment schedule the A-G’s Department and Mr Woyome agreed upon.

Following the agreement, Mr Woyome made a part payment of GH¢4 million to the state.

Mr Justice Anin Yeboah, a single judge hearing the case, granted the request of the A-G.

Not satisfied with the A-G’s discontinuance of her oral examination of the judgement debt, citizen vigilante, Mr Martin Amidu, also filed a writ in 2016 to orally examine Mr Woyome as part of processes to retrieve the money.

Mr Amidu, however, withdrew his case when there was a change in government on January 7, 2017, explaining that he was confident that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government was going to pursue the matter.