Accra, Ghana (PANA) - A controversial judgement debt paid out to a Ghanaian businessman, Alfred Agbesi Woyome, the work of a committee set up by the Chief Justice to investigate the swapping of a cocaine exhibit and government's rating of its performance were some of the stories featured in the Ghanaian media this week.
The nation has been consumed by the payment of about 42 million Ghana cedis to Mr Woyome who sued the government for breach of contract in the renovation of three sports stadiums for the hosting of 2008 African Cup of Nations tournament.
The businessman, who is close to the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), sued after the contract to renovate the stadiums was abrogated by the previous government. (US$1=1.61 Ghana cedis)
The state-owned Graphic had the headline, “Investigate payment to Woyome – Minority.” The story said the Minority in Parliament had called upon President John Evans Atta Mills to relieve the Minister of Education, Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu, of her post.
The President should also institute an independent enquiry into the circumstances leading to the payment of the money to Mr Woyome for the settlement of a claim involving the rehabilitation of the three stadiums.
According to the minority, “the huge and unjustified payment” was based on terms of settlement brokered by the then Attorney-General, Mrs Bety Mould Iddrisu, who did not file any defence to the claim against the government by Mr Woyome. The Minority New Patriotic Party (NPP) claimed Mr Woyome had neither put in a bid nor entered into any contract with the government for the rehabilitation of the stadiums.
The story in the state-owned Ghanaian Times had the headline “Minority demands public inquiry.”
“We demand investigations into this manifestly fraudulent conduct in this stadia saga and possible prosecution for defrauding the Republic of Ghana through misrepresentation and the dubious claims in obtaining judgment in default of defence'', minority leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, told a press conference
Another story by the Graphic said “Prez directs EOCO to probe Woyome issue”.
It said President Mills had directed the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) to investigate the circumstances surrounding the payment of 42 million Ghana cedis to Vamed/Waterville Engineering and Mr Woyome as judgement debt.
A statement issued by the Head of Communication at the presidency, Mr Koku Anyidoho, in Accra said EOCO was also to find out the total amount of money paid out as judgement debt since the present administration assumed office on 7 January, 2009.
It said the investigation was also to ascertain the beneficiaries of those judgement debts paid so far.
The pro-opposition Daily Guide had the headline “Woyome is hot” with the story saying Mr Woyome had a date at an Accra High Court Commercial Division over the "scandalous payment of 58 million Ghana cedis", as the Attorney-General pushed for the appeal against the judgment debt which led to the payment.
It said the Attorney-General was asking the court presided over by Justice Barbara Ackah Ayensu to uphold a stay of execution of a judgment debt it awarded to Woyome even though the money had been paid to him.
Meanwhile, the ruling party’s Parliamentarian for Lower Manya, Michael Teye Nyaunu, and a pro-NDC political pressure group, Alliance for Responsible Opposition (AFRO), think Education Minister, Mrs Mould-Iddrisu, who was Attorney-General at the time of the payment, had no business to stay in government.
In other developments, the case has been adjourned by the court while EOCO has frozen Mr Woyome's accounts.
“CJ’s committee ends public sitting,” was the headline of the Graphic on the missing cocaine probe.
It said the committee, set up by the Chief Justice to investigate the circumstances under which cocaine turned into sodium carbonate at an Accra Circuit Court, ended its public hearing on Tuesday with the appearance of Assistant Superintendent of Police Aidan Kambayeri Dery, the prosecutor, who began the case.
In his testimony, the prosecutor absolved the police from any wrongdoing and delay in the prosecution of the case.
Meanwhile, the Ghanaian Times reported that the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) had invited four staf of the Judicial Service, including an Accra Circuit Court judge, to assist it with investigations into the circumstances under which a cocaine exhibit mysteriously turned into baking soda.
The Graphic carried a story on the government's assessment of its performance by the Minister of Information, Mr John Tia Akologu.
“President Mills has delivered on his promises – Akologu,” was the headline with the story saying Mr Akologu had declared that the government had chalked remarkable success in all sectors of the economy, which had brought significant improvement in the lives of Ghanaians.
He said the President declared 2011 as “Action Year” and noted that he had fulfilled his promises to Ghanaians.
“The good people of the nation have witnessed considerable improvement in all aspects of national life,” the Minister said.
The Ghanaian Times had the headline “Government critics are people without faith, quoting Mr Akologu as saying only men and women of little faith would fail to appreciate the massive infrastructural projects executed by the NDC administration.
He said huge sums of money had been expended by the government on various sectors of the economy under the President’s “Better Ghana Agenda”.
“Prez Mills returns home and says 'I’m not dead','' was the headline of the Graphic, which quoted the President as dismissed claims that he went to Cuba during his recent tour of North America to seek medical treatment.
“I am not dead,” the President said on arrival in Accra last Saturday and described the claim that he had been to Cuba as the infantile imagination of his critics because he had travelled to the US and Canada on official duty as part of his annual leave.
He said the cynics who had made that claim would have done a lot of service to the country if they had channelled their “wild dreams” into positive ventures beneficial to the majority of the people.
-0- PANA MA/SEG 24Dec2011