The Vice President of policy think tank, IMANI Africa, Kofi Bentil, says the National Democratic Congress (NDC) attempted to allow businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome go scot-free without paying the GHS51 million he owes the state.
According to him, the previous government did everything possible to let off the hook the one time NDC financier, and thus protected him while in government.
“As someone who followed this very closely, the NDC did everything that was possible to let Mr. Woyome off the hook. They protected him in every way possible.”
He expressed regret the government had allowed Mr. Woyome to determine his own payment plan, adding that the current government must be more serious in retrieving the money.
Speaking on Eyewitness News on Thursday [February 22, 2017], Kofi Bentil said, “I expect the current government to be more serious in trying to retrieve the money from Mr. Woyome. I expect the current government not to allow Mr. Woyome walk around as free as he is. I’m not saying anyone should assault him; but he should be put under considerable pressure so that he finds it necessary to pay our money than to keep telling us when he will pay and how much he will pay and keep running around as if he has an option not to pay us.”
“He has a certain attitude and I think that comes from his assurance that the previous government was going to support him. I think the attitude of this government should be such that Mr. Woyome feels that he owes something to Ghanaians and he is prepared to pay otherwise he can expect that he will not have a comfortable stay in this country.”
He added that his call for the new government to pursue Mr. Woyome for the money is not to encourage that it breaks the law in retrieving the money, but that it must demonstrate determination and seriousness in pursuing the necessary legal procedures to retrieve it.
I hope gov’t will pursue Woyome cash – Mahama
The matter has come up again for discussion following President John Mahama’s claim that his government had done enough in retrieving the money; and that he expects the new NPP government to continue from where they left off.
President Mahama said this on Thursday when he granted an interview to Power FM, a South African-based radio station. Meanwhile, a private legal practitioner, and a member of the NDC has challenged criticisms that the party was not committed to retrieving the money.
According to him, the NDC followed the due process in attempts to retrieve the money, and that achieved some positive results as Mr. Woyome had paid some GHs4.5 million from the total sum.
‘How did Woyome owe the state?’
Alfred Agbesi Woyome was paid GH¢ 51 million in a judgment debt after claiming he helped Ghana raise funds to construct stadia to host the 2008 African Cup of Nations; but the government cancelled the contract, forcing him to secure a judgement in his favour.
But the Supreme Court in 2014, ordered Mr. Woyome to pay back the money, after Mr. Martin Amidu, a private individual and a former Attorney General, challenged the legality of the payment.
However, several years on, the state is yet to retrieve the money.
It was announced in 2016 that Mr Woyome had agreed to pay the money in tranches, forcing the then Attorney General, Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong to discontinue an application that sought to orally examine him in court.