Ghana’s Supreme Court has asked the state, through the Attorney General, to mobilise funds to buy the properties of businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome, which are being auctioned to offset the major remainder of a GHS51 million debt he owes the government.
A five-member panel of justices presided over by Chief Justice Anin Yeboah gave the order in court on Wednesday, 24 June 2020 during the hearing of a motion for leave of the court.
A few weeks ago, the Minister for National Security, Mr Albert Kan Dapaah, suggested that the assets of Mr Woyome be surrendered to the state to “obviate the need for an auction.”
This followed the inability of the auctioneer to sell Mr Woyome’s assets due to fears by potential buyers that the properties will be restored to the businessman by future governments.
The Supreme Court, in 2019, ordered the sale of properties discovered by the state to belong to the embattled businessman to defray the judgement debt paid him which the country’s apex court has ruled must be refunded.
According to the court, a claim by the now-defunct UT Bank that Mr Woyome used two of his houses at Trassaco as collateral for a loan, could not be proven.
The court also ruled that Mr Woyome’s quarry was not used as collateral as he and the bank had claimed.
Apart from the two houses at Trassacco, Mr Woyome’s property at Kpehe, as well as a stone quarry he owns, were to be sold.
They all have a total worth of GHS20 million, according to Deputy Attorney General Godfred Yeboah Dame.
However, in a letter signed by Mr Kan Dapaah which was addressed to the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice with reference to the order by the Supreme Court, the Minister stated that: “The auctioneer tasked with auctioning the properties has indicated his inability to successfully execute the task because potential buyers are afraid, amongst other reasons, that the properties may be restored to Mr Woyome by the state in the future”.
It continued that due to this, “it has been decided that the properties be surrendered to the state to obviate the need for an auction” and called on the AG to “take the necessary steps to have the above decision effected.”
During was one of the hearings, the Chief Justice urged Mr Woyome to refund the money so he could repossess his properties.
“You can tell your lawyer what you want to tell us; if you have money, go and pay, pay and get your properties back”, Justice Anin Yeboah said.”
Mr Woyome, who has refunded part of the money, is left with GHS47.2 million to clear.
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