Mr. Justice Jones Victor Mawulorm Dotse, one of the nine trial judges of the Supreme Court, who sat on the Waterville Holdings judgment debt saga, puts it succinctly: ï¿½They created, looted and shared.ï¿½ His Lordship was referring to men and women, whose duty it is to protect the national purse, and who rather created the avenue for Waterville and Alfred Agbesi Woyome to milk the nation dry.
When nine panel members of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Ghana, the highest court in the land, delivered their verdict on Friday, it completely unmasked legal luminaries in the Mills/Mahama administration as corrupt elements who colluded to hand over the gargantuan payment to Waterville without any evidence that the holding company had any contract with the Republic of Ghana.
Though the court declined jurisdiction in the matter of the GHï¿½51 million booty handed over to Alfred Agbesi Woyome in a so-called ï¿½consent settlement of the two partiesï¿½ by an Accra High Court supervised over by Mr. Justice Sulley Amadu, the ruling that Woyome has no contract with the Government of Ghana only seeks to postpone the inevitable.
At a time of composing this piece, Mr. Alfred Agbesi Woyome was locked up in a meeting with some members of the media, trying to map out a strategy to court public opinion, while he awaits the obvious pronouncement from the High Court.
He had better begin to identify those who shared the booty with him, because, whether he likes it or not, the noose is beginning to tighten around his neck. The concept of blaming imaginary enemies for his woes would not wash. The Supreme Courtï¿½s directive that neither Waterville nor Woyome had any contract with the Government of Ghana, tells the whole story.
The ruling exposes some agents of this administration as being inherently corrupt. In the view of Mr. Justice Dotse, if counsel for the defendants had applied themselves diligently to the facts of the case, and averted their minds to certain critical exhibits, they might have taken a different stance and given different professional legal advice.
I will like to submit that on the assumption of the National Democratic Congressï¿½ rule in January 2008 after eight years in opposition, some leading legal brains, tracing their loyalty to the regime, found the concept of judgment debts as a very lucrative avenue to make cheap money.
I do not know how Mr. Ebo Barton-Odro, for instance, is feeling. Outwardly, he may pretend to be unconcerned about what is happening around him. But, I can deduce that he is already wet.
Yesterday, while reflecting on the Supreme Court verdict, my mind went on an excursion to that interview with Joy FM, when the then Deputy Attorney-General told a bewildered nation that the state had no case, and that the longer the government failed to honour the so-called judgment debt to the NDC financier, the more the state of Ghana stood in danger of paying huge monies in interest payments on the GHï¿½51 million booty.
With the Supreme Court verdict that the state had no contract with both Woyome and Waterville, what moral authority has Mr. Barton-Odro, for instance, got to preside over the sitting of the Parliament of the Republic of Ghana?
I do not know how his constituents in Cape Coast feel about the conduct of their Member of Parliament, but Mr. Ebo Barton-Odro cannot claim to have done his representation any justice.
This is a test case for President John Mahama himself. We are told that the Presidentï¿½s lead counsel in the election petition filed by three leading members of the New Patriotic Party is caught in the web of what Mr. Justice Dotse described as a syndicate that ï¿½created, looted and sharedï¿½ the resources of state.
We learn that Mr. Tony Lithur, President Mahamaï¿½s lead counsel and husband of Nana Oye Lithur, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, represented Austro-Invest, a company he knew had been liquidated, to make a claim for judgment debt on the government of the Republic of Ghana.
We learn too that the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mrs. Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, owns the law firm LithurBrew & Company with Mr. Tony Lithur, which represented Austro-Invest Management Limited, and made claims on the Ghana government when officials of the law firm knew, or should have known, that the company had gone into liquidation.
With this state of affairs, what moral authority would the Attorney-General have in chasing money wrongfully paid as part of that deal? In other societies, Mrs. Appiah-Oppong would have tendered in her resignation. If her law firm, with herself leading from the front, represented a company that was not in existence to try and collect money from the state, how can Mrs. Appiah-Oppong continue to hold on to her position as the governmentï¿½s Chief Legal Officer?
Is the current Attorney-General and Mr. Tony Lithur among those the Supreme Court has recommended to be reported to the Bar Council? I will like to believe that the Ghana Bar Association would be interested in this matter, if its members have any inclination to clean up the law profession.
This country is in trouble. On Monday, The Chronicle reported that Mr. Samuel Nerquaye-Tetteh, Chief State Attorney, whose wife had GHï¿½400, 000 wired into her accounts by Mr. Woyome after his commission or omission had led to the wrongful payment of the GHï¿½51 million by the state, is lobbying to be made the Solicitor-General of the Republic of Ghana.
It all adds up to the murky world of legal representation which has been used to siphon money from the state. I have no reason to believe that Mr. Nerquaye-Tetteh benefitted directly from the Woyome deal. But, the fact that main the benefactor of the state loot put some of the money into the account of his wife, should be reason for me to suspect that the Chief State Attorney might not have frustrated attempts to recover the loot for nothing.
I hope and pray that the Ghana Bar Association could stop the process of making Mr. Nerquaye-Tetteh the Solicitor-General of Ghana. Already, one is very uncomfortable with the position of the current Attorney-General. If the Solicitor-General falls to someone who appears to be so tainted in the judgment debt scandal, this nation could kiss goodbye to the kind of noble profession that made the likes of John Mensah Sarbah, Joseph Boakye Danquah and other celebrated pioneers of our independent struggle.
In my humble opinion, Mr. Nerquaye-Tetteh does not deserve to return to the Attorney-Generalï¿½s Department.
Meanwhile, it is instructive to learn that Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, former Minister of Finance, raised a number of pertinent issues with former Attorney-General Mrs. Betty Mould-Iddrisu to revise her notes on the huge payments to Mr. Woyome.
Responding to claims made on the state by the Attorney-General to honour the so-called judgment debts to Mr. Alfred Agbesi Woyome, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, in a letter dated April 12, 2013, wrote: ï¿½I refer to your letter dated 31st March 2010 on the above-mentioned subject matter authorising the Ministry to make payment of two percent (2%) of amount claimed (Euros 1,106,470,587.00)
2: Attached to your letter is a claim by Austro-Invest Management dated 15th February, 2010. This Agreement states that Austro-Invest is prepared to accept 1% of the total value of the project as compensation.
3: The agreement further requests that this amount should be divided between Austro-Invest and Mr. Alfred Woyome.
4: In addition to this document, we have a copy of a petition by Mr. Woyome. This petition makes a claim for 2% of the total value of the project. 1% for Austro-Invest and 1% for Mr. Woyome.
5: Our Accounts office has raised a query on the supporting documentation of the claim. For audit purposes they require clarity and evidence on whether the claim is being made by the consortium that won the bid to conduct the financial engineering, led by Mr. Woyome, jointly or separately.
6: Kindly advise on the implications of the Agreement, and also provide us with any further documentation that substantiates Mr. Woyomeï¿½s claim.ï¿½
Below is the scanned copy of the letter.
Tomorrow, I intend to continue with the analysis of the Supreme Court verdict. I intend to offer free consultancy to President Mahama, and invite him to make changes to the personnel offering legal services to the Presidency and the State of Ghana.
Source: Ebo Quansah/The Chronicle
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