Embattled Ghanaian businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome facing trial for defrauding the state of 51.2 million Cedis (16 million U.S. dollars) was freed by an a high court here Thursday, local media reported.
Woyome has since 2012 been standing trial for allegedly defrauding the state of the said amount.
The controversial payment was made under the tenure of Mould Iddrisu who was the then Attorney General.
Woyome, said to be a financier of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), was arrested on Feb. 3, 2012.
This was after the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) commissioned by the late President John Evans Atta Mills to investigate the payment to the businessman had implicated him for wrongdoing.
The state brought the criminal case against him after the Supreme Court ordered him to refund the money paid him to the state.
Justice Ajet-Nassam, in his ruling, said he was not convinced by the prosecution’s case, especially when they failed to present key witnesses – Betty Mould-Iddrisu and Ebo Barton Oduro – who were attorney general and deputy respectively when the judgment debt was paid.
The state, he said, had failed to convince him that Woyome acquired the money fraudulently.
He was consequently acquitted and discharged on two charges brought against him, including causing financial loss to the state and defrauding by false pretenses.
Commenting on the case, the Executive Director of the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), Vitus Azeem said it was not surprising that the ruling has been made in favor of Woyome.
“From the very beginning, we had said that the state prosecutors had not been living up to expectation and indeed some of the judgment debts could have been avoided if they take matters seriously,” Azeem told local media shortly after the court read its ruling. Enditem