Betty Insisted Woyome Deserved Money – Witness

Ms. Mangowa Ghunney, the witness testifying at the trial of Alfred Agbesi Woyome, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) financier, yesterday read a letter from the then Minister of Justice and Attorney-General (A-G), Betty Mould-Iddrisu, that stated why Woyome should be paid. Woyome is being tried for allegedly defrauding the State of GH˘51.28million through a judgment debt scandal. Ms. Mangowa Ghunney, a legal advisor to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MOFEP), read the letter during cross-examination by Osafo Boabeng, counsel for Woyome. The letter stated that the A-G still maintained the position that Woyome should be paid. The legal advisor read the letter in an Accra Fast Track High Court Division presided over by Justice John Ajet-Nassan, and further read a portion of the letter from the Justice Ministry which stated that the monies were fees for project “financial engineering.” This was when counsel asked the witness whether there was a response from the A-G after a query was raised on the payment of the money, to which she answered in the affirmative. Mr. Boabeng then gave the witness a letter, asking if that was the letter from Betty explaining why the accused person should be paid, to which the witness confirmed it was. Defence counsel asked the legal advisor to read its contents and she did, after which the letter was tendered to the court in evidence. Ms Ghunney was further asked if she knew a certain Effie Simpson Ekuban, to which she noted that the said lady was the Acting Chief Director. Mr. Boabeng showed the witness a letter, asking if that was the signature of the said lady, but Ms. Cynthia Lamptey, the principal state attorney, objected to the line of questioning and said once the witness was not the one who wrote the letter, the said lady could be called and questioned on it. However, the judge overruled the objection and said once she was from the ministry she could answer questions on it but the weight to be attached to the evidence on the letter would be determined by the court. In addition, Ms Ghunney said she became active in the matter after the default judgment, but when asked if she wrote a letter recommending the payment of the money, said she could not remember, explaining that the payment was in process at the time she wrote a memo on it and sent it to the budgetary division of the ministry. Counsel for Woyome asked her about the said memo in which she did the summarization of the payment and asked her to bring it to court before formally applying to the court to order a copy of the memo in which the defence team claimed she recommended the payment. The witness said an application for that document should be directed at the budgetary division of the ministry since she could not get direct access to it. The court has ordered for the said memo to be brought on June 22, 2012, which is the next hearing date. The witness, at the last hearing, stated that Woyome had “no contract with the government to provide any services so the government had no obligation to pay him any money”. She also revealed that it was the former Attorney-General (A-G), Mrs. Betty Mould-Iddrisu, who in a letter to the ministry instructed that the NDC financier should be paid 22 million Euros, being two percent of the contract he claimed to have had with the former government. Narrating events leading to the payment of the said amount to Woyome, the lawyer noted that in March 2010, the Finance Minister received a letter from the former A-G instructing the payment of two percent of 52 billion Euros in connection with a contract the accused person claimed to have had with the government. She said she took a good look at it and observed that he had no contract with the government but due to the fact that she was about to travel, she forwarded for consideration the memo in which she calculated the two percent for the accused person. The witness noted that due to the little time she had, she could not advise the Finance Minister on the payment. According to her, later a certain Angela Herman from the A-G advised that the payment should be reversed and said one Mary also called to ask who should be paid the amount because Astro-Invest and Woyome were both demanding payment, and noted that Mary said there was even no contract to support the payment.