Even before the report on the outrageous GH¢58million payment to National Democratic Congress (NDC) self-styled financier, Alfred Agbesi Woyome, is submitted to President Atta Mills as allegedly requested, the President’s appointees at the Castle, the seat of government, are falling over each other in an attempt to defend Woyome.
Mills’ deputy Chief of Staff, Alex Segbefia, deputy Attorney General Ebo Barton-Odro and a member of the government communication team, Benjamin Akyena Brantuo, who was virtually dismissed from the University of Ghana, among other NDC gurus, were all over radio trying to justify the GH¢58million payout to Mr Woyome on a controversial legal issue relating to the rehabilitation of three stadia for the hosting of CAN ’08 in Ghana.
Woyome claimed that the government of Ghana owed him several millions of Ghana cedis from a transaction that was abrogated mid-stream and therefore took the matter to court in his personal capacity.
The payment was facilitated by the then Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Betty Mould-Iddrisu, who refused to put up any defence in court.
According to the Auditor General’s report for the year ending 2010, Mr Woyome was paid GH¢41,811,480.59 on June 4, 2010 as ‘settlement of claim involving rehabilitation of three stadia’ and another payment of GH¢17,094,493.54 on September 22, 2010, bringing the total payment to the NDC financier to a little over GH¢58 million for no work done.
The payment had generated a furore, compelling President Mills to ask the Attorney General, Martin Amidu, for a full report on the controversial GH¢58million payment.
But even before the report was made available, Mr Barton-Odro said the State had no defence because it was a bad case.
“What kind of defence are you going to mount? Is it every case that has to be defended?” the deputy Attorney General asked.
Mr Segbefia, while justifying the payment to Mr Woyome in his personal capacity, claimed that the self-styled NDC bankroller had the power of attorney to act for Waterville Holdings (BVI) Limited, the company that inherited the interests of Vamed Engineering Limited, an Austrian company for which Woyome fronted, which later backed out of the bid to rehabilitate the three stadia at Kumasi and Accra.
Woyome had been prevented from talking to the media and rather appointed spokespersons, led by Akyena Brantuo, who claimed to be working at the Castle, in a clear case of conflict of interest.
Daily Guide sources dismissed the claim that Mr Woyome acted for Waterville in any capacity, since the contract with Waterville itself was abrogated and its interests transferred to Micheletti and Consar, the two companies that finally rehabilitated the Ohene Djan and El Wak stadia in Accra and Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi.
In a correspondence to Waterville on August 1, 2006, former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Joe Ghartey, on behalf of the then NPP administration, indicated that government was unable to go ahead with the contract.
“Whilst reviewing the status of the contract, it came to the attention of Cabinet that the primary condition that influenced the Government of Ghana in signing the contract had not been fulfilled.
“This condition, the engineering of the funding by Waterville, included bridge financing. Having regard to the undeniable fact that time is of the essence, Government of Ghana finds that it has no option but to raise the funding itself. Since you are unable to satisfy the fundamental condition that influenced Government of Ghana’s decision, being engineering the funding, Cabinet cannot approve the contract and therefore the contract cannot be effective.
“We serve you notice and notice is hereby given that since the contracts did not receive approval from Cabinet in accordance with Clause 17 of the contracts, the contracts have never become effective,” the letter said.
Woyome, who had attached himself to Vamed Engineering Company in Austria, to raise money for the stadium rehabilitation, was never dealt with in his personal capacity, but as a front man for Vamed in search of cash for the project. However, he never brought any money until the Austrian company lost the bid because of outrageous quotations.
In a letter of introduction dated May 4, 2005 and signed by Kwaku Agyeman Manu, a deputy Minister of Finance at the time, to Bank Austria Creditanstalt for financial support, the Ministry explicitly declared that government could not be held liable for any breaches.
“This Ministry is aware of a meeting going to take place between yourselves on one part and Mr. Alfred Woyome and Vamed Engineering GmbH & Co. KG. on the other part, about a concessional loan for the attached projects, proposed by Vamed Engineering GmbH & Co. KG. to the Government.
“We wish to state thus, Vamed Engineering GmbH & Co. KG. and Mr. Alfred Woyome should be assisted to conclude the loan deal and a term sheet presented to this Ministry for consideration.
“We wish to further add that this Ministry and Government of Ghana does not take any responsibility, legal or otherwise, for any deal, contractual or otherwise, entered into by Mr Alfred Woyome, Vamed Engineering GmbH & Co. KG., (as they) do not represent this Ministry nor the Government of Ghana in any capacity whatsoever,” the letter said.
This was the letter Mr Woyome had bandied about, claiming to be the basis for his contractual agreement with Ghana government.
Source Daily Guide Ghana