Former President John Dramani Mahama
Former President John Dramani Mahama has tasked his successor, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to pursue Alfred Agbesi Woyome, the beleaguered National Democratic Congress (NDC) financier, to retrieve the GH¢51.2 million unlawfully paid to him.
Woyome was dubiously paid GH¢51.2 million by the Mills/Mahama administration for no work done after which the government turned round to recover the said money from him.
However, at the instance of the Mahama administration, Woyome was virtually treated with kid’s gloves, with the money yet to be refunded despite an order from the Supreme Court.
According to John Mahama, the NDC government he led ‘diligently pursued’ Mr. Woyome, who claims to be a financial engineer, but court processes frustrated their efforts in the pursuit.
“Indeed, the person involved has been pressed to pay back some of the money, I hear he’s started paying back some of the money and it is our hope that this government will continue from where we left off,” he told a private radio station called Power 98.7 FM in Johannesburg, South Africa yesterday.
“This issue about GH¢51million took place when I was vice president many years ago and you’ll be surprised that the matter is still grinding slowly at different levels: the Supreme Court has given a ruling, the lower courts have given a different ruling, the person involved is fighting the case at different levels of the court system, but the Attorney General, that is my Attorney General who has left, pursued this matter diligently and did her best in the legal maze to try and protect the interest of the Ghanaian people.”
“We cannot be lovers of good governance but also be desirers of arbitrary justice: I mean under an unconstitutional government you’d just lock up somebody like that and seize all their assets but we live in a constitutional governance and democracy, and so, the law must work and the Supreme Court has given a ruling which is being enforced.
The ex-President’s claim about his government’s effort to retrieve the money is likely to start heated political debate in Ghana since his critics have always accused him and other gurus in his previous administration of complicity in the whole saga.
Many have alleged that the NDC benefitted from the money paid Mr Woyome.
Some critics have said that but for the untiring efforts of former Attorney General, Martin ABK Amidu, the NDC financier, would have walked away with the money.
Mr. Amidu aka Citizen Vigilante, who is renowned for his anti-corruption exploits, initiated the court processes to get the Supreme Court to rule that the payment of the GH¢51.2 million to Mr. Woyome by the NDC government was unlawful.
Mr. Mahama also parried the corruption tag placed on him by his critics, denying reports that he is worth about $900 million.
“I am not anywhere near even $2 million to talk about $900 million,” Mr Mahama, who lost his country’s December 2016 polls to Nana Akufo-Addo, told the radio station in South Africa, where he is expected to deliver a keynote address and also receive an award for African leadership.
“I am absolutely nowhere near that,” Mr Mahama stressed, explaining: “Often my brother [Ibrahim] is confused with me. My brother is a businessman, he has his assets and I have no interest in his business and I don’t own shares in his business.
“I am a farmer, I have published a book and I have earned royalties from my book and I earn from my farm and that is it. I live a very modest life.”
The ex-President was expected to deliver a keynote address at the African Leadership Magazine (ALM) Person of the Year 2016 Awards Programme in Johannesburg on the topic, “How can Africa win the progress race?”
By William Yaw Owusu