Investigator denies Woyome lawyer’s claims

Assistant Superintendent of Police Odame Okyere, an investigator, has denied claims by lawyers of Alfred Woyome that the second and third payment of the GH¢51.2 million judgment debt was paid after pre-trial negotiations at the commercial court.

He said as far as he was aware, only the first installment of the GH¢51.2 million was ordered by the court with a condition that if the accused lost the case he would be made to refund the money.

ASP Okyere made the statement when continued his testimony at the trial of Alfred Woyome, the businessman at the centre of the GH¢51.2 million judgment debt at the Accra Fast Track High Court.

Mr Woyome is standing trial for defrauding by false pretence and causing financial loss to the State. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is on GH¢20 million bail with three sureties to be justified.

ASP Okyere also stated that per the offer letter that Mr Woyome secured from Bank Austria, the expiry date was November 30, 2005.

He said the construction of the stadia was a turn-key project and as such Waterville was required to look for funds to execute the project which had nothing to do with the government.

He saideven though the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports are an organ of the government, however Local Organizing Committee (LOC) for CAN 2008 set by the Ghana Football Association (GFA) is an autonomous body.

ASP Okyere further gave evidence that the Coat of Arms embossed on the offer letter was used as a means of inviting bidders from Ghana and outside to bid for the stadia project.

When asked by Mr Osarfo Buabeng, counsel for Woyome, whether during his investigations he interrogated Mr Alex Segbefia, former Deputy Chief of Staff, whether Mr Woyome sought any help from him on the matter, ASP Okyere stated Mr Segbefia denied any knowledge of the matter, saying Mr Woyome only came to his office on a different issue.

He said even though he was aware that the Ministry of Finance negotiated with Mr Woyome for the payment of money and the letters for the agreement were signed by Mrs Efe Simpson, but was not aware that the second and third payment of the GH¢51.2 million judgment debt was as result of pre-trial negotiations.

Sometime in January 2005, the government invited bids for the rehabilitation of the Ohene Djan and Baba Yara Sports stadia and the construction of two stadia at Sekondi-Takoradi and Tamale.

At the end of the bidding, some companies were short-listed and invited to submit proposals for the projects and among them was M-Powapak Gmb/VAMED Gmb and Company.

At the end of the evaluation process, the Finance and Evaluation Committee declared the financial proposals of M-powapak /Vamed Engineering as the most responsive and recommended them to the Central Tender Review Board.

However, before the Board could receive a final approval, the government terminated the process.

Meanwhile, in the course of the tendering process, Vamed Engineering had assigned its rights and responsibilities to Waterville Holding (BVI) Ltd.

After the termination of the tendering process, Waterville protested and entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the government to commence rehabilitation works on the Ohene Djan and El-Wak stadia, both in Accra.

The MoU signed on November 30, 2005, required Waterville to engineer funding for the project on behalf of the government from the Bank of Austria Creditanstalt, guaranteed by the World Bank’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency.

The company arranged bridge financing and subsequent to the MoU and Waterville was authorized by the Ministry of Youth and Sports to move to the site and start work, pending the signing of a formal contract.

On December 19, 2005, Waterville engaged M-powapak, led by Woyome, to provide it with financial engineering services in respect of the projects.

A formal contract for the rehabilitation of Ohene Djan and El-Wak stadia was entered into by the government and Waterville Holding Limited on April 26, 2006.

However, before the contract could become effective, the government terminated same due to Waterville’s inability to engineer funding for the project as contained in the MoU, which formed a condition precedent to the contract.

Waterville, who initially protested the termination, eventually accepted the move and proceeded to claim monies for the initial works done under the MoU.

The government paid a substantial amount of Waterville’s claims out of which the company fully paid M-powapak, represented by the accused, for the financial engineering services rendered under the contract.

Payment to the accused for his services was duly acknowledged by him in a termination agreement dated 25th November 2006, which brought the relationship between them to an end.

Sometime in August 2009, however, the accused having received all monies due him under the financial engineering services rendered to Waterville took advantage of the change of government and falsely presented to government officials that the previous government owed him money for financial engineering services rendered to it under the contract with Waterville.

In his claim to government officials, the accused, who had no contract with government, claimed that as part of the financial engineering services rendered, he managed to arrange €1,106,470,587 for the government through the Bank Austria Creditans out of which he claimed he was entitled to two per cent as financial engineering fees.

Investigations, however, revealed that there were no such funds made available for the benefit of the country by Bank Austria as claimed by the accused.

Further investigations revealed that the accused had no contract with the government to provide any services.

The only arrangement on financial engineering services the accused had was with Waterville Holdings Limited, and those services had been fully paid for and acknowledged by the accused in a termination agreement. GNA

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