Kweku Baako Jnr
Editor-In-Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako says the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) has allowed itself to be subjected to public ridicule over the controversial Woyome saga.
To him, it is an embarrassment that a ruling party which boasts of intellectuals and articulate people, cannot call on them to better communicate the stance of government on the Woyome saga which has resulted in two government appointees losing their jobs with some state institutions suffering serious severe integrity crisis.
The twists and turns of the Woyome scandal, akin to the never ending thriller of a block-buster movie, has become an albatross on the neck of the NDC as some leading members of the ruling government say.
The controversial Woyome GH¢51 million judgment debt payment continuous to receive massive media attention and has heralded public discourse for months now with the issue having been turned into a political debate between the ruling NDC and opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP).
President Mills has already ordered the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) to investigate the issue but the NPP believes a public inquiry into the matter would rather help unearth all the details.
In all this, the embattled NDC financier has however enjoyed massive support from leading members of the NDC and government who believe he is being unnecessarily persecuted. But most of the argument put up in defence of Mr Woyome seems to further tighten the noose of allegedly perpetuating fraud around his neck.
Last week, a pro-NDC pressure group, Concerned NDC Members, pledged unflinching support for the embattled businessman and even embarked on a demonstration Tuesday.
Their action stems from the refusal of some ministers in the Kufuor administration to assist the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) to investigate the Woyome judgement debt saga.
According to the demonstrators, ex-president Kufuor and members of his cabinet recklessly managed the resources of the country, leading to the state paying huge sums of money in judgement debts and thus petitioned government to arrest these past officials in connection with the issue.
They again called on the NPP flag bearer for the 2012 elections, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to resign on moral grounds until he had purged himself of all fraud leading to the huge judgement debt imposed on the state.
Contributing to discussions on PeaceFM’s “Kokrokoo” Morning Show, the Senior Journalist said much as the issue of judgment debts need to be critically dissected since it is being exploited by some who see it as a veritable source of corruption, the Woyome scandal is dominating the pack chiefly because “evidence abounds that something went wrong with this particular judgement debt and the payment of it”.
According to him, the State through the Attorney-General has admitted that it mistakenly effected payment to Alfred Woyome and there is also the element of fraudulent misrepresentation and collusion between Waterville and (Woyome’s company), to dupe the State.
Consequently, he said, he does not see the need why at this stage when the Woyome issue is of immediate relevance, he will turn his attention to the issue of all judgment debts before coming to address the Woyome case, pointing out that “if we are not careful we will be creating a forest of issues just to hide the trees.”
“…We need time to scrutinize the issue of judgment debts…For many years now many governments have gone through the process of paying judgment debts, but it never became an issue of high public interest or controversy…it has become an area some are exploiting to their advantage. I’m beginning to come to that conclusion that it has become a veritable source of corruption so it needs investigation. In principle, I’m for that. The genesis of some of these judgment debts dates back to the First Republic…but why presently the focus is on the Woyome saga is probably because, immediate there is evidence…evidence abounds that something went wrong with this particular judgement debt and the payment of it. At least the State (Ghana) itself through the Attorney-General…amplified…the payment was a mistake.
“(Martin) Amidu on his part has even added that there was the element of fraudulent misrepresentation and also collusion between Waterville and (Woyome’s company)…to dupe the State, there was fraudulent representation on the part of Woyome to dupe the State and the State itself due to a variety of reasons, mistakenly effected payment…but I don’t see why at this stage when the Woyome issue is of immediate relevance…I will leave that and look at the issue of all judgment debt before coming to address the Woyome case….No, I’m not prepared to do that. Let’s deal with the Woyome matter now, now now,…because if we are not careful we will be creating a forest of issues just to hide the trees…The man himself at the centre of the controversy has been silent…He’s granted an interview to the AfricaWatch claiming the NPP destroyed his documents…,” Kweku Baako said.
Commenting on the recent demonstration by the Concerned NDC members in solidarity with Woyome and their call for the prosecution of ex-president Kufuor and members of his cabinet for their role in the Woyome saga, Kweku Baako said he finds it hard to understand why the NDC has not unleashed its seasoned communicators to articulate the stance of the party but has rather allowed itself to be ridiculed in such a manner.
Whiles the immediate-past Attorney-General, Martin Amidu has been sacked, former Education Minister, Betty Mould-Iddrisu, who was the A-G at the zenith of the Woyome scandal recently resigned from her position in government.
Her complicity in the whole Woyome saga has to do with the decision to rather negotiate for consent judgment with the embattled NDC guru resulting in the huge money that was paid to him (Woyome).
She is believed to have signed most of the documents upon advice from the Finance Ministry that Woyome had a genuine case, after going through all their records.
But in a tone tinged with disbelief, Kweku Baako said there was no way a legally illiterate person like him will attach any importance to the letter written by Paul Asimenu, Director in charge of Legal Affairs at the Ministry Finance and Economic Planning, on behalf of the sector Minister, Dr. Kwabena Duffour advising the then Attorney-General, Betty Mould-Iddrisu that the NDC financier should be paid because he (Woyome) was deserving of it.
Dramatically, he said, “i nearly collapsed when I read the letter”.
“…This thing is now being reduced to a ridicule now, it is now a joke…it’s a comic relief…a group went on a protest march saying Nana Addo should resign or be changed as flagbearer because he was General Legal Counsel for the NPP, a member of cabinet…look it should be an embarrassment to the NDC party, they have better people; they have more skillful, intelligent, articulate people…I don’t like the party as a party, the way it was crafted and brought into being but you can’t deny the fact that they have sharp brains in it, experienced in terms of politics…they can unleash those people to articulate the stance of the party, if they so want to…
“Because of this Woyome case, the NDC as a party is even being reduced to a ridicule. Government is getting into a terrible shape which probably is undeserving. With this case alone, Martin is gone…Betty has also exited…Two ministers are casualties so far and out there are more. The Finance Ministry, not just the Minister, the Director Legal…the Chronicle newspaper published a letter he wrote…That letter when I read it, legally illiterate like me having no competence for financial engineering and administration…I nearly collapsed…What, that is the letter written by the Director Legal Finance advising the Attorney-General that they can pay the money because Woyome was deserving of it? My Goodness!!! Man!” he screamed.
Firing at all cylinders, the newspaper Editor accused Alfred Woyome of putting together documents of dubious validity to rip off the state. He was emphatic that the Woyome scandal really “stinks” and the country after 20 years of democratic governance with its attendant challenges, was “better off today than this kind of scandal of gargantuan proportions,” and therefore deserves better.
“So it is not only people having ministerial or cabinet positions who are affected by this matter. The Office of the Chief of Staff…the Secretary to the President…(all have questions to answer)….As for Waterville and Woyome, I can put my hand on the paper here that they colluded. Of course some people slept on the job and made it work; otherwise I understand Waterville had already been paid $25million…that is another bombshell. They were paid for the work done under Kufuor administration…so this case has affected the Auditor-General, the Ministry of Finance, the Controller and Accountant General, the Bank of Ghana has been affected, even the Presidency. Ah, one man? Pursuing a dubious claim?
“I am saying so, I’m prepared to go to court on this matter…Institutions of state are suffering a serious severe integrity crisis on this matter…because of Woyomegate. How? We don’t deserve it…After 20 years uninterrupted constitutional rule; with the difficulties and challenges, this country is better off today than this kind of scandal of gargantuan proportions…We are better than this…and we don’t deserve it. How one man was able to put all sorts of documents together of dubious validity…this is not good at all. It stinks; it smells,” Kweku Baako yelled.