It has emerged at the trial of Alfred Agbesi Woyome, the businessman accused of defrauding the state, that the letter of support which he claimed signified securing funds for CAN 2008 projects, did not constitute any agreement for the Bank of Austria to provide any funds for any project in Ghana.
A prosecution witness told the Financial Division of the Accra Fast Track High Court, presided over by Mr Justice John Ajet-Nasaam, that during investigations, the Austrian bank, in a letter dated March 30, 2012, had indicated that the “documents had no effect in terms of any financial inflow from the Bank of Austria to the government of Ghana”.
ASP Edmund Odame Okyere, an investigator in the case, led in evidence by a Chief State Attorney, Mr Mathew Amponsah, also told the court that the Austrian bank maintained that the letter in question was also “not a binding offer from them and that it did not provide any fund for any project in Ghana, including CAN 2008”.
Mr Woyome had based his claims for receiving GHc51.2 million, for which he is being prosecuted for fraud and causing financial loss to the state, on the purported Bank of Austria letter which he argued was evidence of money he had secured to fund the construction of the two stadia — the Essipong and the Tamale stadia — as the country prepared to host the 2008 African Nations Cup.
Even though VAMED, one of the companies at the centre of the Woyome saga, had won the bid for the construction of the two stadia, the bid was cancelled because it failed to secure funding for the project.
During the trial yesterday, punctuated occasionally by the defence team trying to scrutinise documents tendered in evidence by the state, ASP Okyere stated that based on Mr Woyome’s petition, the investigative team had written to the Austrian bank through Interpol to authenticate the document.
However, the bank wrote back indicating its inability to release the information because of banking secrecy issues but advised that the enquiry be channelled through diplomatic mutual legal assistance.
“Based on the response, we wrote to the Attorney-General and requested him or her to channel the request to authenticate the document through high diplomatic mutual assistance.”
A request the A-G’s Department handled came back with the response in the March 30, 2012 letter which stated that the letter was not binding.
Mr Okyere, who walked the court through the history of the case right from the time bids were opened for the projects, said the contract was terminated because VAMED failed to get funding for the project.
The case has been adjourned to November 19, 2013.
Source: Daily Graphic/Ghana
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