O.B. Amoah maintains innocence in Woyome scandal
Mr Osei Bonsu Amoah, a Deputy Minister Designate for Local Government and Rural Development, , on Thursday, rejected claims of being culpable of revenue loss to the State in contracts to renovate the Accra Sports Stadium and other stadia in 2008.
When asked by the Appointments Committee of Parliament if he did receive illegal money of GHC 75,000 from Mr Alfred Agbesi Woyome, a businessman, in respect of that contract, for which he was detained, Mr Amoah, who is a Member of Parliament for Akwapim South replied that his detention was rather politically motivated.
Mr Amoah, a former Deputy Minister for Youth and Sports, under the Kufuor Administration, was being vetted by the Appointments Committee of Parliament for his new portfolio, for which he was nominated by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
It was during his tenure as Deputy Minister for Youth and Sports that Government of Ghana entered into an agreement with Waterville Holdings Limited in 2005, to source funds for stadia projects for hosting of the African Cup of Nations (CAN) 2008 Football Tournament.
The Kufuor Administration later terminated the contract with Waterville; but Mr Woyome succeeded in receiving over GH¢51 million in judgement debt as compensation for his role in that deal.
However, the Court has ruled that he was wrongfully paid, leading to a legal tussle between Woyome and the State for retrieval.
During the legal processes to retrieve the money from Woyome, reports were rife that Mr Amoah had received some GH¢75,000 of the judgment debt from Mr. Woyome, which was alleged to be part of the GHC 51 million paid to Mr Woyome.
However, Mr Amoah, in a rebuttal at the vetting said: “I have never been detained for corruption. I was politically detained,” apparently suggesting that the arrest in 2012 was motivated by National Democratic Congress party, which was then in power.
He added: “Mr. Chairman, never. GH¢75,000? I’ve never seen that amount in my life. I think it was an attempt to indict the NPP Administration as far as the stadium construction was concerned. But thankfully, because some of us had been in that Ministry, we were able to set the record straight.
“If you look at the Supreme Court judgment, or even the Justice Appau Commission report, nowhere was OB Amoah or the NPP indicted in that matter,” he said.
“If, indeed, we wanted to make these payments and make probably something out of it, then we should have paid it, but we resisted fiercely that we were not supposed to pay a cedi outside what we had agreed to pay.”
When the Committee was pressing for details about the Woyome matter, asking to which political party Mr Woyome might belong, the nominee drew the attention of the Committee that he never inspected the political card of Mr Woyome to see whether it was NDC or NPP.
Furthermore, he indicated that his appearance before the Committee, was not to answer questions about Mr Woyome, and that Mr Woyome would be the best person to answer those questions.
‘I wish the vetting is not Woyome vetting,” Mr Amoah stated.
Mr Amoah, who also a Member of the Appointments Committee, spoke of plans to revive the Aburi Botanical Gardens, which is in his Akwapim South Constituency as well as other Parks and Gardens across the country as part of efforts by the Ministry to boost the nation’s tourism revenue.
He supported the proposal for the election of District Chief Executives (DCE), and suggested that their election should go alongside the next District Assembly Elections, which would be due in September 2019.
Mr Amoah rejected the assumption that some districts were not economically viable, explaining that it was a matter for the leadership to make the districts viable based on Government interventions, attracting investors and marketing the potentials of the districts.
He emphasised the importance of inter-ministerial coordination, as well that between the DCEs and Members of Parliament in the determination, location and work on projects.