Osafo Maafo : I Won’t Go!

Former Finance Minister under the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration, Yaw Osafo Maafo, is seeking to place an interim injunction on the Economic and Organised Crimes Office (EOCO) from investigating his supposed involvement in the infamous GHc58million Woyome scandal. Mr Osafo Maafo was to appear before EOCO yesterday but rather sidestepped the body and headed to the court to restrain it from going ahead with the investigation on the basis that he would not get a fair hearing especially when certain people in government had made prejudicial comments on the issue. President Mills tasked EOCO, formerly the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), to investigate and unravel the ‘strange and mysterious’ circumstance under which an amount of GHc58million (C580billion) was paid to the self-acclaimed financier of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Alfred Agbesi Woyome as judgment debt. Subsequently, EOCO summoned Mr Osafo Maafo, Dr Kofi Amoah of Citizen Kofi fame and a host of others to appear before it to answer pertinent questions related to the award and execution of contract for the construction of stadia for CAN 2008 which led to the payment of the said amount to Woyome. But Osafo Maafo, a former Member of Parliament for Akim-Oda, in the Eastern region, has filed a suit at an Accra High court seeking “a declaration that the purported investigations being undertaken by the defendant (EOCO) into the so-called ‘suspected serious offences including fraud in the award and execution of the contract for the construction of stadia for CAN 2008’ and the invitation of plaintiff (himself) herein to assist defendant in those investigations are unlawful to the extent that they are issues raised in a report of the Auditor-General duly laid before Parliament.” The former Finance Minister, through his lawyers at Akufo-Addo, Prempeh & Co chambers, is therefore seeking a perpetual injunction restraining the defendant from proceeding with investigations into the issue since in his opinion the purported investigations being undertaken by EOCO are actuated by bias and prejudice and therefore unlawful under the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana. He also believes the circumstances involving the payment of the colossal sum of over GHC58million to Alfred Woyome and the acts and utterances of the President, the Deputy Attorney-General, Ebo Barton-Odro and EOCO itself disabled the body acting in a manner which is fair and reasonable. Mr Osafo Maafo contends that the President’s directive for EOCO to investigate the matter could not have been made in good faith since according to him, “as far back as April and May 2010, in various correspondences on the payment to Alfred Woyome in satisfaction of an alleged breach of contract for the performance of financial engineering services allegedly rendered to the government of Ghana from 2001 to 2006, the then Attorney-General, Betty Mould-Iddrisu, wrote to the Minister of Finance and notified the President through the Chief of Staff about the payment to Alfred Woyome”. According to him, this lack of good faith finds expression in the fact that the President has at all material times been aware of the payment to Woyome. He stated that on or about August 18, 2010, “the then Attorney-General, Hon. Betty Mould-Iddrisu issued a writ of summons in the Commercial court, Accra seeking to set aside the judgment that the government had failed to defend and had consented to pay Alfred Woyome a colossal sum of money on the basis that the judgment was procured by mistake and that the Attorney General had discovered a letter authored by the then Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Hon. Agyemang Manu dated 5th May 2005, which letter clearly indicated that the government of Ghana had no legal relationship with Alfred Woyome and therefore he was not entitled to the amount he received as a result of consent judgment or any amount at all.” In spite of all these facts, the onetime Finance Minister averred, “the President feigned ignorance and in bad faith has sought to initiate this investigation by the EOCO which he described as ‘nothing but a smoke screen.’ He considered the President’s directive as a ruse in furtherance of his agenda to supposedly divert attention. He said it was calculated at vindicating his prior public pronouncements of wrongdoing and impropriety by key members of the erstwhile New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration.