Woyome, three others plead not guilty to charges

Mr Alfred Agbesi Woyome, the businessman at the centre of the controversial GHc51 million judgment debt on Monday appeared before the Financial Division of an Accra Fast Track High Court.

With him in the dock were Samuel Neequaye-Tetteh, Chief State Attorney at the Attorney General’s Department, Paul Asamaning, Head of Legal Duties, Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and Gifty Neequaye-Tetteh, a businesswoman.

Charged with conspiracy and defrauding by false pretences and corrupting a public officer, Woyome dressed in white linen shirt over black trousers and intermittently wiping sweat from his face pleaded not guilty.

Asamaning and Neequaye-Tetteh being held for corruption of public officer and abetment of crime, have also denied the charges.

In the case of Gifty, she also denied the charge of abetment of crime.

The court sat over by Mr Justice John Ajet Nasam after carefully listening to the submissions made by the prosecution and defence team admitted Gifty to GHc500,000 bail with a surety because it was confirmed that she was a nursing mother.

She is to report to the Police every Wednesday and Friday during the week.

It however, remanded Woyome, Asamaning and Neequaye-Tetteh into Police custody to reappear on February 13.

The trial was greeted with drumming and dancing from sympathisers of Woyome who thronged the court premises amidst tight security by the Police.

People who thronged to the court pulled out their mobile phones to snap pictures of the accused persons as they waited anxiously to be sent back to custody.

Ms Cynthia Lamptey, Chief State Attorney declined bail put in by the three accused persons as investigations were ongoing but stated that she did not oppose to bail in respect of Gifty who is a nursing mother.

In their respective submissions for bail, Mr Robertson Kpatsa, Counsel for Woyome said the facts of the prosecution was not entirely true as the amount paid to his client was a result of a judgment from a court of competent jurisdiction.

Mr Kpatsa said at the right time his client and others would come to court to defend themselves as such Woyome should be granted bail.

He noted that the offence preferred against his client did not constitute those offences that bail should be refused, adding Woyome was prepared to provide credible sureties to satisfy the bail conditions.

“It is only in the court room that my client can tell his story and he is prepared to answer all the charges preferred against him,” he added.

Mr Addo Attuah, Counsel for Neequaye-Tetteh and wife Gifty noted that prosecution’s facts presented was grossly invariance with what actually transpired in the case.

He admitted Neequaye-Tetteh was the schedule officer who held brief in the case at the Commercial Court, adding that whatever happened at the court was what deemed fit as the court’s judgment.

According to Mr Addo Attuah the GH¢400,000 allegedly used as financial Inducement was unsupported.

Mr Kwame Boafo Akuffo, who represented Asamaning, prayed the court to admit his client to bail as monies paid was based on valid judgment and that there was a writ of summons seeking to set aside the judgment.

According to Mr Akuffo admitting Asamaning bail would not prejudice the matter before it.

Ms Lamptey, who presented the facts of the case, said during 2009 Woyome made the then Attorney General Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu to believe by stating that he had a contract with the Government of Ghana.

The contract according to the Chief State Attorney was in relation to the construction of five sports stadia but the contract was unlawfully abrogated.

Ms Lamptey said Woyome subsequently filed a writ at the High Court claiming that he was owed GHc41 million to which he had added interest of GH¢10 million.

The Chief State Attorney said the money was paid in tranches, in February 2010, GH¢17,094,493.53 was paid.

In January and April 2011, GH¢20 million cedis were paid respectively while the last tranche was paid in September 12, 2011 an amount of GH¢14,188,987.06.

Ms Lamptey said preliminary investigations showed that government did not owe Woyome.

Additionally, Neequaye-Tetteh drafted letters to the Minister of Finance concerning the payment and he refused to go to court to defend the action.

According to Ms Lamptey, it was found out that Woyome transferred GHc400,000 to Gifty’s account.

She said it was further disclosed that Asamaning wrote opinions and quoted figures and sent information which created conditions for Woyome to be paid monies which was not due him.

During investigations the four were picked up by the Police, the Chief State Attorney said.

Source: GNA

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