The Supreme Court has ordered the continuation of the oral examination of Alfred Woyome, following another application he had filed to stop the process seeking to retrieve the GHc 51 million judgment debt wrongfully paid to him by the state.
The three-member panel presided over by Justice William Atuguba, threw out the application for lack of merit, and described it as a red herring introduced as a further illustration of Mr. Woyome’s ‘delay tactics.’
Mr. Woyome’s lawyers argued that the decision to orally examine him, breached his rights to privacy, and further challenged the capacity of Justice Benin to make the order.
Mr. Woyome has filed multiple suits since the beginning of his oral examination by the Attorney General in June 2017, to stall attempts by the state to retrieve the GHc 51 million.
In November 2017, Mr. Woyome filed a suit at the Supreme Court seeking to halt all processes intended to retrieve the GHc51 million judgment debt wrongfully paid to him by the state.
He prayed the court to put on hold all processes to reclaim the money, until a determination of another related case being heard at the African Court of Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) in Tanzania.
This was after the African Court on November 24, 2017, ordered Ghana to suspend all efforts to retrieve the money, until it determines an appeal filed by Woyome, who argued that his human rights are being abused by Ghana’s Supreme Court.
But the Supreme Court, in making a determination on a similar application filed by Woyome for stay of proceedings pending the final outcome of the case before the African Court, argued that there was no real factual and legal basis for it to share its powers and jurisdiction with any other court, and so it cannot be compelled to halt the ongoing proceedings.
Mr. Woyome was paid the GHc 51 million after claiming he helped Ghana raise funds to construct stadia for the hosting of the 2008 African Cup of Nations.
However, an Auditor General’s report released in 2010, held that the amount was paid illegally to him.
Subsequently, the Supreme Court in 2014 ordered Mr. Woyome to pay back the money, after Martin Amidu, the Special Prosecutor nominee and a private legal practitioner at the time, challenged the legality of the payments.
Following delays in retrieving the money, Supreme Court judges unanimously granted the Attorney General clearance to execute the court’s judgment, ordering Mr. Woyome to refund the cash to the state.
There had been previous attempts to orally examine Mr. Woyome, with Mr. Amidu himself, in 2016, filing an application at the Supreme Court to find out how the businessman was going to pay back the money.
This came after the Attorney General’s office under the Mahama Administration, and led by the former Minister for Justice, Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, discontinued a similar application.
In February 2017 however, Mr. Amidu withdrew his suit seeking an oral examination, explaining that the change of government and the assurance by the new Attorney General to retrieve all judgment debts wrongfully paid to individuals, had given him renewed confidence in the system.