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Woyome Gang Caged

Alfred Agbesi Woyome, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) acclaimed financier at the centre of the over GH¢51million scandal, was yesterday put before an Accra Fast Track High Court, Financial Division, with three alleged accomplices including two senior state lawyers, for alleged fraud.

The other accused persons are Samuel Nerquaye-Tetteh, the Chief State Attorney who allegedly refused to put up a defence against Woyome in court and was reportedly bribed for his role, and Paul Asimenu, Legal Director at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, who purportedly quoted wrong figures that paved the way for Woyome to access the money.

They are all facing various charges. Mrs. Gifty Nerquaye-Tetteh, wife of the chief state attorney into whose account the alleged GH¢400,000 bribe allegedly paid to his husband was lodged, is also before the court.

The couple were said to have been arrested at the Kotoka International Airport on their way out of the country on Saturday.

At a court presided over by Justice John Ajet Nasam ,Woyome and Mr Nerquaye-Tetteh both pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit crime, while the NDC financier also pleaded not guilty to defrauding by false pretences and corrupting a public officer in the person of the chief state attorney with the said GH¢400,000 (¢4billion).

The state attorney was charged with allowing himself to be corrupted but he denied any wrongdoing while Paul Asimenu pleaded not guilty to abetting Woyome to defraud the state to the tune of GH¢51million.

Gifty, a businesswoman, was also charged with abetment of crime but she denied committing any offence.

She was granted a GH¢500,000 bail with two sureties on the grounds that she is a nursing mother who is already on a police enquiry bail and had been reporting to the police. The rest were however denied bail.

The case has been adjourned to February 13, 2012.

Presenting the facts of the case, Cynthia Lamptey, a principal state attorney, told the court that Woyome is a businessman while Nerquaye-Tetteh is a chief state attorney. She also said Mr. Asimenu is the legal director at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, whilst Gifty is the wife of the chief state attorney and a businesswoman.

According to her, in June 2009, Woyome made false representations to the then Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mrs. Betty Mould-Iddrisu, that he had a contract with the previous government, regarding the construction of five sports stadia, which was unlawfully abrogated.

The prosecutor noted that the businessman consequently filed a writ at a High Court and claimed the state owed him GH¢41million which increased to GH¢51 million due to an accrued interest. She said the money was paid in four tranches, adding that in June 2010, Woyome received an amount of GH¢ 17,094,493.53 and that on January 27, 2011, he received GH¢10 million.

On September12, 2011, he again received GH¢14,188,987 .06. The state attorney stated that investigations revealed that government did not owe Woyome any money and that Nerquaye-Tetteh, who was the state attorney in charge of the case, did not go to the courtroom to contest the matter which gave Woyome the opportunity to claim all that money.

Ms Lamptey observed that an amount of GH¢400,000 was transferred into the account of Mr. Nerquaye-Tetteh’s wife and noted that

Mr. Asimenu on his part wrote opinions and quoted wrong figures which created conditions for Woyome to claim the money. She said it was based on these that the accused persons were arraigned before the court.

She prayed the court to remand the accused persons as investigations were still ongoing, According to the prosecutor, if granted bail, the accused persons could interfere with investigations.

Robertson Kpatsah, counsel for Woyome, observed that the facts presented by the state were not entirely true because whatever money was received by his client was a judgment debt but was not received through fraud. He said his client had all the documents leading to the payment of the judgment debt and was ready to provide it to prove that it was not obtained through fraud.

He prayed the court to grant bail to his client as he had a fixed place of abode and was ready to provide sureties.

Addo Atuah, counsel for the couple, told the court that Mr Nerquaye-Tetteh was innocent of the charges against him because it was not unusual for lawyers to lose cases, adding that there was nothing like conspiracy between the chief state attorney and anybody.

According to him, the alleged financial inducement was just an allegation and not supported by facts, noting that there was no abetment on the part of GiftyNertey whom he said was a nursing mother. He prayed for bail for the couple, especially Gifty, who was already on a police enquiry bail.

Kwame Boafo Akuffo, counsel for Asimenu, told the court that the facts of the prosecution were not entirely true as the money paid was not paid fraudulently, adding that there was currently a civil suit pending before another court on the same issue and there was no guarantee that it would end in favour of the state.

He prayed for bail for his client and said he was a responsible man with a fixed place of abode who had people ready to stand surety for him.

By Fidelia Achama

Source: Daily Guide



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