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Woyome, Archer Fight Over Enquirer


Alfred Woyome & Raymond ArcherOn April 23, 2012, embattled businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome and Raymond Archer, Managing Editor of the Enquirer newspaper, will be heading back to court to slug it out over the ownership of the newspaper.

The one-time buddies were in an Accra Commercial Court yesterday to argue their case out.

Alfred Woyome and his legal representative, Chris Coker, were in court, but Raymond Archer did not show up; however, his lawyer, Tony Lithur of LithurBrew, was present.

According to accounts gathered from reliable sources, apparently Mr. Woyome incorporated the Enquirer newspaper sometime in 2005 and being the financier of the entity, he allocated 51 percent stake to himself and the remaining stakes were given to Mr. Archer.

However, because he was then a Consul at the Austrian Embassy, a position that did not allow him to own or operate a private business, he decided to cede his stakes in trust with his legal counsel, George S.K. Babanawo of Dashen Chambers in Osu Accra.

DAILY GUIDE gathered from sources close to Mr. Woyome that Mr. Archer cleverly manipulated the complex ownership arrangement to become the sole owner of Focal Media Limited – the publisher of the Enquirer.

“The realisation that he has been outsmarted has infuriated Mr. Woyome so much,” the source said.

Mr. Woyome, who is facing criminal charges over the GH¢51.2million he fraudulently pocketed from the state for non-existent judgment debt, was forced to head for the courts in 2011 when he realised that several manoeuvres had occurred on his blindside.

For instance, in October 2008, Mr. Archer used Focal Media Limited to secure a GH¢37,000 loan from Stanbic bank, with his knowledge as majority owner of the newspaper.

It is alleged that Focal Media had been used as collateral for the contentious loan.

In July 2009, Stanbic Bank sued Focal Media, Raymond Archer and Alhaji Asuma Banda (guarantor of the loan facility) for repayment defaults.

That was when Mr. Woyome and Mr. Babanawo realised the precarious position they were in.

According to Mr. Babanawo, Mr. Archer allegedly forged his signature in a phony agreement which transferred all the stakes of Focal Media to Mr. Archer.

Indeed, Mr. Archer’s new role gave him the opportunity to secure the loan without consulting anybody else.

In a petition to the Police Criminal Investigations Department dated 25th November 2011, Mr. Babanawo told the Director General of the Police CID that “Raymond had taken a loan from Stanbic Bank using the company’s name without consulting me when my name was still on records at the Registrar General’s Department as a director, majority shareholder and secretary of the company”.

“I did not sign any document on, before or after signing the registration forms purporting to hold the shares in trust for neither Alfred Woyome nor Raymond Archer,” he said in the petition.

“Alfred Woyome is determined to take his company back,” sources told DAILY GUIDE. In court yesterday, he prayed the court to recognise the ownership structure of the company and rule in his favour.

Some of Mr. Woyome’s angst is based on the fact that Mr. Archer has allegedly failed to render accounts to him.

When contacted, Mr. Archer declined to comment, but simply said the ownership of the Enquirer newspaper had been the same since its incorporation in 2005.

Mr. Woyome is currently embroiled in several legal battles; the prominent ones are the criminal and civil cases surrounding the controversial GH¢51.2 million judgement debt payout.

By Raphael Adeniran

Source: Daily Guide/Ghana



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