The Accra Financial High Court has ordered a lawyer at the Ministry Finance and Economic Planning to produce a memorandum in which she recommended to the Minister to pay the GHC 51.2 million judgement debt to Mr. Alfred Agbesi Woyome.
It followed a request put before the court by Osarfo Buabeng, counsel for Mr. Woyome, who sought to cross-examine the lawyer, Mrs. Mangowa Ghanney of the Legal Department of the Ministry on the document.
Continuing her evidence yesterday under cross-examination in the case in which Mr.Woyome is being tried for causing financial loss to the state, Mrs. Ghanney admitted having prepared the memorandum on the judgement debt file, which she forwarded to the Finance Minister.
However, when asked by defence counsel as to whether she recommended payment of the money to Mr. Woyome in the memorandum, she said: “I would want to see the memo” to which Mr. Buabeng pointed to her that the memorandum is with the ministry.
When asked further as to whether she could produce the memorandum for her to be cross-examined on it, she answered in the negative grounding her answer on claims that she is not the custodian of the document
She said: “That (the memorandum and the file created on the case) was forwarded to the Budget Division of the Ministry”.
Consequently, Mr. Buabeng suspended the cross-examination, and prayed the court to order her to produce the memorandum to enable him to cross-examine her on it.
The court, presided over by Justice John Ajet-Nasam, accordingly ordered Mrs. Ghanney to produce the document and adjourned proceedings to June 22 for continuation.
Mr. Woyome is facing two counts of defrauding by false pretences and causing financial loss to the state; charges he has denied since June 5. Three other alleged accomplice who were put before court with Mr. Woyome were discharged on June 5 following a nolle prosequi by the state
According to prosecutors, Mr Woyome in February 2010 made false representation to the government that it owed him two percent of 1,106,470,587.00 Euros for his services in the area of financial engineering for the rehabilitation of the Accra and El-Wak Stadia.
He is further accused of “wilfully and fraudulently causing huge financial losses” of GH¢51,283, 480.59 to the state between September 2010 and September 2011.
Answering questions earlier under cross-examination, Mrs. Ghanney who testified in the case on June 12, as the first prosecution witness, said in response to a letter from the A-G requesting the Finance Ministry to pay Mr. Woyome two percent of an amount, the Finance Minister on April 12, 2009 wrote to the AG to seek justification for the payment.
In that letter which was tendered in evidence by the defence team through Mrs. Ghanney, the Finance Minister requested the then AG to provide him with further documents to substantiate the two percent claims against the state by Mr. Woyome.
Quoting portions of the letter by the AG in response to the Finance Minister’s letter for clarification, Mrs. Ghanney said the AG indicated in the letter that Mr. Woyome had done some project financial engineering for which he merited the amount.
“She (the AG) indicates that the claims is for project financial engineering fees,” Mrs. Ghanney said.
Further, she told the court that she was actively involved in the case after Mr. Woyome obtained the judgement debt against the state.
According to her, the AG wrote another letter recommending payment of the judgement debt by the Ministry of Finance. The letter was tendered in evidence by the defence through Mrs. Ghanney after the court had overruled an objection by the prosecutors.
In that letter portions of which Mrs. Ghanney read, the then AG requested the Finance Ministry to pay the judgement debt, saying “she (the AG) insisted her position is that the Ministry of Finance pays Mr. Woyome and Astro Invest the amount”.
She told the court that she did not see a copy of the default judgement but only saw the entry of judgement.
Asked whether she knows one Mrs Effie Simpson Ekuban, Mrs. Ghanney answered positively, noting that she (Mrs. Ekuban) was the acting Chief Director of the Finance Ministry at the time of the Woyome case.
She identified a letter written by Mrs. Ekuban to Mr. Woyome’s lawyers. The letter was tendered in evidence by the defence team through her.
Mrs. Ghanney also admitted to a negotiation process between Mr. Woyome and his lawyers at one hand and the Ministry of Finance at the other hand, noting that after that meeting she wrote a letter to Mr. Woyome’s lawyers to correct some figures misrepresented by Mr. Woyome’s team in a letter to the finance ministry.
“A letter had come from the accused lawyers in which some of the figures were misquoted so I did write to correct that,” Mrs. Ghanney said explaining that in the Woyome lawyers’ letter, they made claims for cost which the Finance Ministry rejected.
According to her, “the cost of the default judgement was incorporated in the GH¢51 million.”