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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

DUFFUOR WARNED BETTY …Over Fraudulent Woyome payment

From Sebastian R. Freiku, Kumasi

Dr. Kwabena Duffour
THE CHRONICLE has sighted a document emanating from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, in which the Sector Minister, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor asked the then Attorney General and Minister for Justice to do due diligence in the authorization of the  payment of  1,106,470,587.00 Euros to Alfred Agbesi Woyome.
The six-paragraph caution letter said by inference that due diligence was necessary for audit purposes.
It was revealed that the payment of the GH¢58 million to Alfred Woyome was upon the insistence of Mrs. Betty Mould Iddrisu as the Attorney General and Minister for Justice.
Dr. Duffuor, who was responding to a letter of March 31, 2010, by Mrs. Betty Mould Iddrisu,   requested for clarity and evidence and an advice on the implication of a purported agreement  between Austro-Invest Management and Mr. Woyome, and any further documentation that  substantiated Mr. Woyome’s claim.
He also wanted to be informed as to whether the claim is being made by the consortium that won the bid to conduct the financial engineering led by Mr. Woyome jointly or separately.
In a correspondence dated April 12, 2010, the Finance Minister had drawn the attention of the former Attorney General to queries raised by the Accounts office of the Ministry, regarding supporting documentation for the claim, involving the rehabilitation of the three sports stadia, namely Ohene Djan, Baba Yara and El-Wak.
Mrs. Betty Iddrisu, in defending the payment of the amount had attached a letter of February 16, 2010, in which Austro-Invest announced its preparedness to accept 1% of the total value of the project as compensation, which also stated that the amount should be divided between Austro-Invest and Woyome.
She also furnished the Finance Minister with a petition by Woyome, which claimed 2% of the total value of the project, 1% for Austro-Invest and 1% for Woyome.
In response to the concerns raised by the Finance Minister, Mrs. Betty Mould Iddrisu in a letter of April 29, 2010, advised that Woyome’s claim was in order and recommended the authorization of the payment of the amount, due jointly and severally to Mr. Woyome.
She advised that the Ministry should negotiate the modalities for the payment of the amount with Mr. Woyome. Mrs. Betty Mould Iddrisu referred to a letter of the Central Tender review Board dated August 5, 2005, which in her opinion formed the basis of a binding agreement between Vamed and the Government of Ghana.
She said the process, having been wrongfully terminated by the Government, the claimants were entitled to compensation for services rendered.
Defending her position, the former Attorney General referred to a Ministry of Finance letter of May 4, 2005, and said Mr. Woyome made arrangements for the grant of concessional loans for the rehabilitation of the Ohene Djan and Baba Yara stadia, and three others for the Ghana 2008 football tournament, the construction of six hospitals and the Cobalt 60 Irradiation Plant, among others.
She said Mr. Woyome’s role in project financial engineering is further evidenced by a Ministry of Education and Sports of July 5, 2005, and an earlier letter of October 28, 2004, from the then Minister for Environment and Science, Prof. Kassim Kasanga.
In further support of Woyome’s claim, Mrs. Betty Mould Iddrisu indicated that Woyome, together with Waterville set up offices in Austria (Vienna), U.S.A. (Washington DC), Italy and Switzerland, as part of the project financial engineering work for the projects in Ghana, and that as Alternate Director of M-Powapak at the time, Mr. Woyome acted as principal party in discussing with government officials to facilitate the financial engineering of the projects.
Subsequently, Woyome entered into an agreement with Austro-Invest on September 1st, 2005, in which the parties agreed to formalize their collaboration into a working business relationship for their mutual and common benefit, which agreement provided that Austro-Invest shall offer services relating to syndication of funds from financial Institutions, as part of the financial structuring and acquisitions of projects by Mr. Woyome.
According to Mrs. Betty Mould Iddrisu, even though the parties agreed that Mr. Woyome will pay Austro-Invest up to 1.5% of the total amount syndicated, the figure was subsequently  negotiated downwards to 1% for Austro-Invest per the said February 16 2010 agreement.
Mrs. Betty Mould Iddrisu further indicated that Mr. Woyome’s role, which was mainly for the syndication of funds, quite different from that of Austro-Invest, is evidence by correspondences with international financial Institutions, such as the Export-Import Bank of USA and the final demand letter of a Washington-based lawyer, Mr. Michael Farrell, who worked on Mr. Woyome’s instructions in respect of a contract involving Austro-Invest.
The Attorney General hoped that the settlement would forestall huge financial costs as a result of payment of interest and damages.
Also in response to a concern by the Finance Minister, Mrs. Betty Mould Iddrisu, in another correspondence  dated May 28, 2010,  and headed: “RE; Alfred Agbesi Woyome v The Attorney General & the Ministry of  Finance  and Economic Planning”,  said she  scheduled a meeting with Mr. Woyome and  his solicitors with  regards to  the breach of the agreement by the  Government of Ghana to pay the negotiated amount of GH¢41,811,480.59 during which Mr. Woyome indicated preparedness to accept the amount of GH¢41,811,480.59 based on the 2%  originally agreed upon.
The Attorney General insisted that the Government pays Mr. Woyome and Austro-Invest the negotiated amount of GH¢41,811,480.59 to resolve the matter once and for all. “It is still my position that we pay Mr. Woyome and Austro-Invest the negotiated amount of GH¢41, 811,480.59”, she stated.
Mrs. Betty Mould Iddrisu’s letters of April 29, 2010, and May 28, 2010, were copied to the Chief of Staff for the attention of Mr. J.H. Martey-Newman.

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