…As Businessman’s Lawyers Turn Table On Nana Addo Administration
As the Attorney General, Gloria Akuffo, grapples with served notice from lawyers of Alfred Agbesi Woyome that he is ready to play hardball, the New Patriotic Party government has been jolted into the grand epiphany that the joke of scoring political points with the Woyome issue is now on them.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) is no longer in power to be targeted with propaganda darts as scapegoat and now the NPP must face the fulfilment of the prophecy by Yaw Osafo-Maafo that, “we must marshal our forces to defend in court.”
Manatt, Phelps & Philips, Washington-based lawyers for Mr. Alfred Agbesi Woyome, have served notice to the Government of Ghana that they are suing for 100million euros at the International Court of Arbitration for the abuse of Mr. Woyome’s rights.
Attorney General Gloria Akuffo has been served notice that if she does not respond in 30 days, proceedings will commence anyway with the prospect of a default judgment at the end of the trial.
Mr. Woyome feels entitled to justice in this way after the Supreme Court had, in 2013, judged that Alfred Agbesi Woyome was not entitled to GHc51.25million that had been awarded to him by a Fast Track High Court in Accra.
The judgment had been premised on the belief that the abrogation of a contract that Government of Ghana had awarded to Waterville in 2005 to construct stadia for the CAN 2008 soccer tournament in Accra was valid because the contract, which is an international one, had not received Parliamentary approval.
Mr. Woyome had done “financial engineering” on that contract.
By that same judgment, Waterville Holdings BVI had been asked to refund $25million judgment debt that it had won for the abrogation of the contract.
Waterville is already in litigation with GoG at the international court seeking to quash the Supreme Court’s decision. It is while this is going on that Woyome has also sued the government at the International Court of Arbitration of the International Criminal Court.
Even before Gloria Akuffo would respond to the suit, it is worth noting that both Waterville and Woyome have a huge gambit against the GoG since the reasoning by the Supreme Court that the Waterville contract was baseless because it did not receive approval from Parliament is not wholly true.
On the 9th’ of May, 2006, Parliament’s Select Committee on Youth, Sports and Culture had written to Export–Import Bank (EXIM’S BANK) of the United States asking for a waiver on EXIM’s requirement that 85% of all goods and services in the execution of the stadia rehabilitation contract come from the United States.
The Committee had explained that Ghana needed the waiver from the EXIM Bank because the country was racing against time to complete the stadia on schedule – the same reason that had constrained the Ministry of Youth and Sports to ask
Waterville to start executing the contract on 6th February, 2006 before the contract would be formally signed on 26th April, 2006.
Signed by the committee‘s then chairman, Hon. Joe Baidoe–Ansah, the letter had boldly pointed out that, “the Government of Ghana has SIGNED CONTRACTS with Waterville Holdings, Inc. for the execution, construction and rehabilitations of selected stadia projects, which are absolutely essential in order to comply with the requirements of the international football authority.”
The Parliamentary Select Committee had addressed the letter to Mr. John A. McAdams, Senior Vice President of Export Finance, and copied to Mr. John Richter of the EXIM Bank.
This letter had been written in 2006, seven long years before the Supreme Court would judge on 14th June, 2013 that Waterville did not deserve a 25milion Euro judgment debt that it had received from the state as a consequence of the abrogation of the contract to rehabilitate the Ohene Djan and El-Wak sports stadia for the CAN 2008 football tournament.
According to the Supreme Court, the company did not deserve the judgment debt because the abrogated contract had not been okayed by Parliament.
The judgment had been a source of elation for the NPP, which was then in opposition, as the party eagerly leveraged it for propaganda to paint the erstwhile Mahama regime as having intentionally paid Woyome GHc51million, along with the $25million to Waterville, because Woyome was a financier of the NDC.
Four years down the line, the NPP government is looking down the road of long tedious litigation at the International Criminal Court, where Woyome has initiated the litigation dance, with the Parliamentary Select Committee’s May 9, 2006 letter as a crucial arsenal.
Already, Waterville is in court with government.
What is interesting is that, the very nightmarish suit that Gloria Akuffo is about to deal with is what former Attorney General, Betty Mould-Idrissu, had sought to prevent when the Atta Mills government had come to office in 2009.
Rather than go down the long litigation road, Betty Mould-Idrissu had chosen to negotiate down a claim of over $100million that Woyome was seeking against government to GHc52million, the cedi equivalent of some $13million.
The NPP, whose government had caused the problem in the first place by vandalizing the Waterville contract and later given it to the China Shanghai Group, had turned round and accused the Mills regime of having intentionally opted for a negotiated settlement with Woyome because Woyome was a financier of the regime.
The party had gone on to milk the issue for propaganda even though current Health Minister, Kweku Agyeman Manu, who was then the Kufuor regime’s Deputy Finance Minister, had written letters of introduction to the Bank of Austria vouching for Mr. Woyome in his efforts to raise money for Waterville to execute the contract.
Before the Kufuor government would abrogate the Waterville contract, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, who now occupies an amorphous portfolio with job title, “Senior Minister,” had warned in a memo to the cabinet, that they would have to be ready to marshal all legal resources to defend in court if the government went ahead to abrogate the contract.
Interestingly, after abrogating the contract with Waterville, the regime had given the contract to the China Shanghai group, without subjecting it to Parliamentary approval.
The Shanghai Group has since been paid after execution of the contract, even though the contract never went before Parliament.
Source: Therepublicnewsonline.com/Fiifi Samuels