Woyome’s fate hangs

The Supreme Court has set January 21, 2019, to rule on claims by defunct UT Bank that properties identified by the state as belonging to embattled businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome belong to the defunct bank and cannot be confiscated by the state.

The state, in its efforts to recover the GH¢51.2 million the National Democratic Congress (NDC) financier fraudulently received as judgment debt, has identified five properties, each worth $1.5 million belonging to Mr. Woyome.

Efforts by the state to confiscate the properties were truncated by defunct UT Bank which claimed ownership.

The Receiver of UT Bank, Eric Nana Nipa, in his witness statement to the apex court, claimed the bank acquired the properties from Mr. Woyome on April 5, 2013 and May 13, 2014, respectively.

He claimed the property at Accra Newtown was used by the businessman as collateral to secure a loan in excess of GH¢9 million from the bank.

Mr. Nipa further averred that Mr. Woyome’s company has not repaid the money, which has made it difficult for the bank to pay its depositors and other creditors.

But the state, represented by Deputy Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, accused Mr. Woyome and defunct UT Bank of colluding to frustrate efforts by the state to retrieve the money wrongly paid the businessman.

According to the state, the residential properties and others identified belong to Mr. Woyome and the bank has no document to prove that it acquired the properties, some of which were used as collateral for loans.

Oral grilling

Deputy Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah, who cross-examined the receiver, pointed out inaccuracies in statements by UT Bank, insisting that the claims are instruments of deceit to frustrate efforts by the state to execute the judgment of the Supreme Court.

During cross-examination, Mr. Dame revealed that there was no deed of transfer between Woyome and UT Bank which guarantees the bank the right to lay claim to the properties in question.

Interestingly, all documents filed by UT Bank, including the land title certificates and site plans of the said properties, are all in the name of Mr. Woyome.

Mr. Dame also said the Receiver was not truthful to court when he said the keys to the properties had been in the possession of UT Bank since August 2017, adding that as of September 2017, Mr. Woyome was still in possession of those properties when state officials stormed the house.

“I am putting it to you that the evidence you just gave is false as part of your efforts from preventing the state from selling the properties,” Mr. Dame suggested to Mr. Nipah, who said the testimony was “absolutely true.”

Evidence

The state provided documentary evidence to prove that the residential properties at Trasacco Valley in Accra belong to the businessman and not the defunct bank as claimed by its Receiver.

Mr. Dame tendered a writ of summon filed by Anator Quarry Limited, which is believed to be chaired by Mr. Woyome as evidence to the Supreme Court.

According to him, Mr. Woyome was described as the owner of the two properties in the writ filed by Anator Quarry Limited at an Accra High Court.

A Chief State Attorney, Stella Badu, made reference to the document on several occasions during cross-examination by Osafo Buabeng, counsel for Mr. Woyome.

The court admitted the document into evidence but Mr. Woyome’s lawyer vehemently objected, saying the registrar of the High Court should have tendered the whole file on the case initiated by Anator Quarry Limited.

Judgment

The apex court, presided over by a single judge, Justice A.A. Benin, has set January 21, 2019, to determine whether the properties can be confiscated by the state.

The court subsequently ordered counsel for the defunct UT Bank and the Office of the Attorney General to file their written statements within 14 days.

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