Hearing of the Attorney-General’s application to enforce a Supreme Court judgement which ordered businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome to refund GHC51.2 million to the state has been adjourned sine die.
The adjournment is to enable bailiffs to serve hearing notices on Woyome and Waterville Holdings. They were both absent in court when the matter was called yesterday.
Lawyers for Woyome and Waterville were also absent, but the Attorney-General’s Department was represented by Ms Helen Ziwu and Mrs Stella Badu, both Chief State Attorneys.
Meanwhile, information gathered by the Daily Graphic indicates that lawyers for Woyome and Waterville Holdings have written to the Supreme Court indicating they had not been instructed by their clients to represent them in this particular case.
According to them, their services ended on June 14, 2013 and July 29, 2014. It is not clear whether or not they would formally be contracted by their clients to continue the case when a date is fixed for hearing.
The case was first adjourned on February 4, 2015 to yesterday, February 10, 2015 but it emerged that bailiffs were unable to serve Woyome and Waterville with the hearing notices.
The Supreme Court on July 29, 2014, ordered Woyome to refund GH¢51.2 million to the state on the grounds that he got the money out of unconstitutional and invalid contracts between the state and Waterville Holdings Limited in 2006 for the construction of stadia for CAN 2008.
It held in a unanimous decision that the contracts upon which Woyome made and received the claim were in contravention of Article 181 (5) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, which requires such contracts to be laid before and approved by Parliament.
The 11-member court, presided over by the Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, was ruling on a review application filed by a former Attorney- General and Minister of Justice, Mr Martin Amidu.
Other members of the panel were: Justices Julius Ansah, Sophia Adinyira, Rose Owusu, Jones Dotse, Anin Yeboah, Paul Baffoe-Bonnie, N. S. Gbadegbe, Vida Akoto Bamfo, A. A. Bennin and J.B. Akamba.
June 14, 2013 judgement
The court had on June 14, 2013 directed the international construction firm, Waterville Holdings Limited (BVI), to refund all the money paid to it by the Ghana government on the premise that it had no valid and constitutional contractual agreement with the government.
Waterville was expected to refund 25 million euros it received from the government, following the court’s judgement that the said contract it entered into with the government for stadia construction for CAN 2008 was unconstitutional.
That was because it had contravened Article 181 (5) of the 1992 Constitution, which requires such contracts to go to Parliament for approval.
According to the applicant who filed the application for review on July 12, 2013, he, together with other like-minded Ghanaians, had read the two judgements delivered by the Supreme Court very carefully and had come to the conclusion that some aspects of the judgement contained “exceptional circumstances that have resulted in what we perceive may constitute a miscarriage of justice.”
Contract null and void
In the Waterville judgement, the court declared as null and void and of no operative effect a contract titled: “Contract for the Rehabilitation (Design, Construction, Fixtures, Fittings and Equipment) of a 40,000 Seating Capacity Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi, Ghana,” entered into between the Republic of Ghana and Waterville Holdings Limited (BVI) of P.O. Box 3444, Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands on April 26, 2006.
The review decision
Reversing aspects of the court’s June 2013 judgement on behalf of her colleagues, Mrs Justice Wood said the conduct of the then Attorney-General and Minister of Justice in paying or ordering the payment of money to Austro Invest for a “purported” financial engineering which arose out of an April 26, 2006 agreement was, therefore, unconstitutional. Austro-Invest was contracted by Woyome to syndicate funding for the grant of a 1.1 billion euro facility but was paid off by Woyome.
Proceedings at High Court void
The court further declared as null and void and of no legal effect, proceedings at the High Court (Commercial Division) that entertained a suit brought against the state by Woyome on April 19, 2010.
It also held that the conduct of Woyome and Austro-Invest in making claims and receiving payment on two “in-operative agreements” which were international businesses and had not received parliamentary approval was also illegal.
Meanwhile, the criminal case instituted against Woyome by the state has been adjourned to March 12, 2015 for judgement.
Source: Daily Graphic
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