A Private legal practitioner and a member of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Abraham Amaliba, has challenged criticisms that the party was not committed to retrieving some GH¢51 million wrongfully paid to businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome as judgment debt.
According to him, the NDC followed the due process in retrieving the money and achieved some positive results.
Former President, John Dramani Mahama in an interview on South Africa-based Power FM on Thursday, urged the new government led by Akufo-Addo, to pursue the controversial GHc51 million judgment debt paid to Alfred Agbesi Woyome, once a financier of the NDC.
He explained that, his administration could not retrieve the money because he could not have acted arbitrarily since Ghana operates a democratic system of governance.
Many have criticized him for the comments accusing him of being reluctant in retrieving the money while in power. But Mr. Amaliba in an interview on Eyewitness News said the Mahama-led government used the appropriate legal means in addressing the issue.
“For those who are legally minded and are aware of the legal processes, will come to the conclusion that the Mahama administration was committed to recovering the money”
“We have to follow the legal procedures. What kind of pressure can be given to him to pay the money? The legal processes have been used and as we speak GH¢4.5 million has been paid and he [Woyome] has indicated that he will pay the rest on quarterly basis. The next payment will be in April,” he added.
He said the new Attorney General must pursue the matter to ensure Woyome pays the remaining amount since the previous government had already ensured that he started paying it back to the state.
“We can only deal with the legal processes that will result into recovery of the money. There can’t be any other means. The oral examination was discontinued because Woyome came out with a payment plan and promised that state and for that matter the Attorney General thought that he was ready to pay.”
‘How did Woyome owe the state?’
Alfred Agbesi Woyome was paid GH¢ 51 million in a judgment debt after claiming he helped Ghana raise funds to construct stadia to host the 2008 African Cup of Nations; but the government canceled the contract, forcing him to secure a judgement in his favour.
But the Supreme Court in 2014, ordered Mr. Woyome to pay back the money, after Mr. Martin Amidu, a private individual and a former Attorney General, challenged the legality of the payment.
However, several years on, the state is yet to retrieve the money.
It was announced in 2016 that Mr Woyome had agreed to pay the money in tranches, forcing the then Attorney General, Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong to discontinue an application that sought to orally examine him in court.