General News of Sunday, 18 November 2018
The Attorney-General (A-G) last Thursday tendered as evidence a document which it said proved that two houses at Trassaco Valley in Accra which have become a matter of litigation were for the businessman, Mr Alfred Agbesi Woyome, and not the defunct UT Bank.
Mr Woyome, the A-G and the receivers of the defunct UT Bank, Mr Vish Ashiagbor and Mr Eric Nana Nipah, are before the Supreme Court, with the bank claiming ownership of the properties on the basis that Mr Woyome sold the properties to UT Bank.
The state, on the other hand, is seeking to prove that the properties are still for Mr Woyome and that the defunct UT Bank, through its receivers and Mr Woyome, are colluding to prevent the sale of the two mansions to offset part of the GH¢47.2 million that the businessman owes the state.
At the hearing, a Deputy A-G, Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, tendered a writ of summons filed by Anator Quarry Limited, a company in which Mr Woyome is said to be the Executive Chairman, as evidence.
Mr Dame submitted that Mr Woyome was described as the owner of the two properties in the writ filed by Anator Quarry at the Accra High Court.
The deputy A-G tendered the document after a Chief State Attorney, Ms Stella Badu, had made several references to it during cross-examination by counsel for Mr Woyome, Mr Osafo Buabeng.
Mr Buabeng objected to the tendering of the writ, arguing that the right procedure was for the court to order the registrar of the High Court to tender the whole file on the case initiated by Anator Quarry.
Such a move, he submitted, would prevent the court from having access to only a document that would favour the case of the A-G.
He also told the court that he had been informed that Anator Quarry had filed to discontinue the case at the High Court.
The sole judge, Justice A. A. Benin, however, admitted the writ into evidence, stating that the A-G could assist the court with the writ so far as all the parties had seen and confirmed it as the original writ.
Mr Buabeng, during the cross-examination, sought to make a case that the two properties were not for his client, but Mrs Badu disagreed and insisted that all searches made by the state proved that the properties were still registered in the name of Mr Woyome.
“I am putting it to you that there is no evidence before this court or any other that the two properties are not the properties of Mr Woyome,” counsel said.
“I disagree; we insist that the two properties belong to Mr Woyome,’’ Mrs Badu replied.
Mrs Badu also raised doubt over the witness statement signed by the receivers of UT Bank, explaining that in the said statement, the receivers had said UT Bank bought the properties from Mr Woyome but the same properties were also used as collateral by Anator Quarry Limited to secure a loan from the bank.
“That is one of the reasons the A-G raised the issue of collusion,’’ she said.
Hearing of the case continues on December 3, 2018.
UT Bank, in April 2016, claimed ownership of the two properties at Trasacco in Accra when the state attempted to auction them to defray the GH¢51.2 million the businessman owed the state.
Archer and Co., lawyers for the then UT Bank, Manet Towers, Airport City branch, filed a notice of claim at the High Court for the properties and served notice on the A-G’s Department.
The effect of the claims is that the state cannot sell those properties until it is proved that the bank’s claim is false.
The Supreme Court, on July 29, 2014, ordered Woyome to refund GH¢51.2 million to the state on 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 the 2008 African Cup of Nations.
Woyome went to the International Court of Arbitration to contest the court’s decision after reneging on his promise to the Supreme Court to pay the money by the end of December 2015.
On March 1, 2016, Woyome prayed the court to give him three years to pay back the money but the court declined to grant his wish.
The court had, in the 2014 review decision, held 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.