When Ghana was awarded the right to host the 26th edition of the African
Cup of Nation in the year 2008, a tender committee board was set up by the then Local Organizing Committee (LOC), on behalf of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports to receive proposals from interested construction companies and joint ventures for possible award of contract for the construction of two new stadia in Takoradi and Tamale as well as the rehabilitation of the then Accra and Kumasi sports stadia. Upon intensive perusal and scrutiny of the various proposals received, the tender committee board recommended that, the contract be awarded to one Vamed Construction group, which later sold its right to Waterville Engineering company which had proposed to construct the two stadia at the cost of $78 million.
This recommendation was then submitted to cabinet pending final ratification into a valid contract or otherwise. The recommendation however, did indicate some concerns and reservations about the ability of Waterville to execute the project within the limited period available as per CAF's deadline at the time. In view of the above reason and cognizant of the exigencies of the time, the Kuffour government, with recourse to Parliament, brought in the Shangai Construction Group that had proposed to execute the same project and at a relatively far lower cost of only $48 million as against the $78 million proposed by Waterville thereby making savings of whopping $30 million for the State. Upon loosing the contract to construct the two new stadia apparently because of the relatively huge money they quoted, Waterville Consortium was then given an alternative to do rehabilitation works on the Elwak, Kumasi, and Accra stadia which they committed to.
After executing the rehabilitation works on the aforementioned three stadia, the Kufuor government paid them paid 11 million euros in FULL SETTLEMENT of compensation for work done. (for EMPHASIS, they were NOT paid this 11 million euros as a result of contract abrogation in respect of the construction of the two new stadia, Tamale and Takoradi because that contract was not awarded to them when it become apparent that they could not even meet the condition precedence to start with). Waterville, after receiving this money indeed wrote a letter back to the government, indicating their acceptance and satisfaction of the amount paid them in respect of the work they had done (renovation of the existing stadia). Ideally, this should have certainly been the end of the matter.
However, when the NDC assumed the reins of governance in 2009, this same Waterville made an astonishing u'turn and wrote to the NDC government seeking compensation for contract abrogation and payment of money owed them to the tune of 33 million euro as they claimed. This was where Mr. Alfred Agbesi Woyome, a selfacclaimed NDC financier came into the picture when he also wrote a letter dated 28/08/2009 to the government challenging the claims of 33 million euro made by Waterville and argued that it was him that the nation owed for financial engineering he claimed to have done for the CAN 2008 project; (as if he has ever been contracted by the Government of Ghana). He claimed to be owed 6 million euro for illegal termination of contract in this respect. I know you are shocked at this development. Wait for more startling revelations.
Upon receipt of a copy of Woyome’s letter, Waterville Holdings quickly instructed their lawyer, Mr. Kwame Tetteh to write to the government reacting to the false claims made by Woyome, where they argued that Woyome and his consortium M-Powerpak was only one of their agents/employees, whom they contracted to “provide Waterville with financial engineering but the relationship was terminated by a Termination Agreement dated 25th November 2006…… M-Powerpak’s and Woyome’s claims against Waterville were fully settled and acknowledged in the Agreement…….We must add that the stadia contracts were contracted between Waterville and the Government of Ghana…; neither M-Powerpak nor Woyome was a party. It is therefore wrong for Woyome or M-Powerpak to make a claim in a contract of which none is a party.” (Source, EOCO Report).
Despite all the cautions coming from Waterville regarding Woyome’s dubious claims, the government still allowed this man together with his accomplices in government to rise on the recklessness, criminal negligence and foolhardiness of senior public officials, including Ministers of State to dupe the good people of Ghana of a wanton 520 billion old cedis. For instance, the former AG, Madam Betty Mould Iddrisu, upon receiving Woyome’s first claim where he indicated that, the nation owed him; never requested of Woyome to provide any documentary evidence to prove his claims as any "reasonable person" would do. She never bothered to ask if he had a contract with the Ghana government which was wrongfully/illegally terminated. Instead, her outfit shockingly concluded that the nation had no defense against Woyome’s claim. Ebo Barton Oduro (Deputy A-G) and NeeQueye Tetteh's (Senior State Attorney) advice to the AG immediately comes to mind. They advised that the nation had no defense to Woyome's claims. Shocking, isn't it?
Upon seeing a window of opportunity to defrauding the State, Woyome at this juncture, ridiculously moved his claim from the initial 6 million euros to 1 trillion cedis (which is worth 2% of the entire cost of the
project). The AG department surprisingly, accepted that the nation was indeed
liable without any checks and criminally proceeded to enter into a settlement agreement with Woyome. However, in order to have some legal backing to this manifest kleptomania, they went to court to obtain a consent or default judgment, not on the merit of the case but because both parties had a mutual agreement and were singing the same song; so the court had no option but to grant them their wish. Madam Betty Mould Idrissu then went back and renegotiated with Woyome for
possible reduction of his claim of 1 trillion cedis to a more reasonable amount. They then reached a settlement agreement that Woyome be paid 480 billion cedis (less than half of his earlier claim). Again, they had to go to the court for legal backing to the new mutual consent.
However, in providing the judgment (another default judgment I must add), the presiding judge ordered that the amount be paid in 3 separate installments i.e. 170 billion cedis each payable as follows; 1st installment be paid within the first week of July, 2010, 2nd installment be paid by the end of July, 2010 and the 3rd installment by the end August 2010. These payments, the court added, should be preceded by an undertaking to be signed by Woyome to return the money back to the State in case he loses the case eventually.
Notwithstanding the court's directive which was very explicit, the government went ahead and illegally paid Woyome the entire amount at once, in clear defiance of the court order. After disagreeing with Woyome at the initial stages and upon realizing now that he (Woyome) was making progress in his move to defraud the State, Waterville then joined and collaborated with him in this stealing enterprise through the clandestine works of some official CONSPIRATORS (including Ministers and Deputy Ministers) in government to CREATE , LOOT and SHARE the taxpayer's money as observed by Justice Dotse of the Supreme Court of Ghana.
All these facts were made evident in the 2010/11 Auditor General Report which broke the scandal. EOCO's intervention too has been helpful in unraveling some of these mysteries. Not forgetting of late president Mills' unequivocal instructions to his appointees to stop the inordinate payments to Woyome which was nonetheless flouted with impunity (as per the EOCO Report). Surprisingly, the only man who was interested in retrieving our stolen money from Woyome and his government accomplices, (Hon. Martin Hamidu) lost his position as AG at some point in time. This citizen vigilante, Martin Hamidu exhibited unwavering commitment to fighting this thievery and prosecuting all those involved including senior government officials.
Isn’t Ghana an interesting country? The people through whose criminal negligence, the nation lost huge sums of money were allowed to remain at post; whereas the only man who had vowed to help the nation retrieve every dime of that gargantuan money was rather fired. What a world of paradox! No wonder the Supreme Court has, on countless occasions vindicated Hon. Martin Hamidu anytime he went to court against Woyome but the government, with all its powers and resources, loses every single case against this infamous NDC financier. Obviously, things aren't adding up. The recent acquittal and discharge of Woyome by the Appeals Court is a further testament of how government, through the AG deliberately failed the poor Ghanaian taxpayer because of political expediency.
In conclusion, this Woyomegate story would surely go in history, as one of the greatest government-induced corruption scandals to have hit the Republic of Ghana. The next generations would surely not forgive us for this inestimable disservice for God and country. Posterity SHALL forever be our judge. Long live my Motherland.
The end of this historic trip.
You may want to SHARE THE STORY for love of God and country.
A concerned Ghanaian in the struggle
Youth Activist/Social Commentator
Former NUGS Secretary
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