UPDATE: Woyome Scandal/EOCO Report - Chief State Attorney Arrested

The Ghana Police Service has confirmed that the Chief State Attorney, Mr. Samuel Nerquaye-Tetteh, implicated in the controversial Woyome scandal, is in their grips. He is currently at the Police Headquarters being interrogated. Acting Director of Public Affairs at the Ghana Police Headquarters, DSP Cephas Arthur confirmed the information to peacefmonline.com a short while ago. He, however, failed to give further details beyond confirming the arrest. The Chief State Attorney, who is the second person to be picked up in the still unfolding Woyome saga after the alleged mastermind Alfred Woyome himself was arrested on Friday, is one of many officials found liable in the Economic and Organised Crimes Office’s Interim Report following a probe into the payment of some GHc51 million to Woyome. He stands indicted for advising the then Attorney-General, Betty Mould-Iddrisu, that the government did not have a defense to fight the case and for that matter halt the payment that was totally false. On Mr Nerquaye-Tetteh, the EOCO report said the same arguments raised against Mrs Mould-Iddrisu could be raised against him, adding that he was the professional or technical person directly in charge of the case and he was the person who refused to go and defend the action. The Chief State Attorney also admits to drafting all letters which Mrs Mould-Iddrisu sent to Dr Kwabena Dufuor concerning the transactions leading to the payments to Mr Woyome. He was involved in the negotiations which led to the first settlement for an amount of over GH¢41 million and indeed witnessed it and therefore when the Ministry of Finance refused to pay and Mr. Woyome went to court, he found it unconscionable to go to court and defend the action. Woyome, according to the report, rode on the negligence and complicity of public officials to dupe the state of “money which he was clearly not entitled to.” To buttress its evidence that public officials or those associated with them connived with Woyome to milk the country, the EOCO report established that an amount of GhC400, 000 was “paid to the wife of Mr. Nerquaye-Tetteh on June 16, 2011” but failed to mention reasons behind that payment. According to the damning report, although the Chief State Attorney, Mr. Nerquaye-Tetteh, who was directly in-charge of the case for the Attorney-General’s department, had argued that government did not have a basis to put a defense against the suit by Mr. Woyome, an advice which he gave to Betty Mould-Iddrisu which the report described as flawed. The report said: “There were however enough grounds to defend the action but this was not done. In the files at the AG’s department, there could be found a lot of evidence which indicated clearly that at the least, Mr. Woyome could not establish his case. ” The EOCO report said, for instance, that in his own letter to the A-G in which he stated that the claim of Waterville was not proper, Mr Woyome had also stated, “I use this opportunity to formally demand on my own behalf and on behalf of Austro Invest, M-powapak and Alexander Van Cleef the sum of Euro six million in lieu of the CAN 2008 stadia construction bid that was cancelled by the Cabinet of the Government of Ghana illegally when it was clear that the consortium had won.” The report asked, “Upon what basis was he later demanding the over 22 million euro? If nothing at all, there could have been a defence against the quantum that Mr Woyome was asking for in court. “Again, on the docket was an agreement between Waterville and M-powapak where it was clear that M-powapak was an agent of Waterville and that Waterville was responsible for paying M-powapak. Then, again, the opinion of BIC was enough to realise grounds for a defence against the claim by Woyome and all these documents were on the files in the A-G’s Department.” According to the report, Mr Woyome’s claim was based on the tender process which was abrogated and added that the simple question of Woyome’s capacity in talking about the tender process in court could have been raised, since he was not a bidder in the process nor a party to it in his personal capacity and could, therefore, not be suing for it. “Then again, the Waterville letter written by Waterville’s lawyers and dated November 20, 2009 raised issues about the capacity of Mr Woyome and his consortium to make a claim on the government and this could have been defence to the action. The letter under reference mentioned also that Waterville had settled all claims with M-powapak and there was an agreement to that effect,” it added.