A former partner of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr Tony Lithur, has challenged Mr Martin Amidu to report him to the General Legal Council if he has any adverse findings against him.
?Martin Amidu, as a senior practitioner knows what to do if he has definite information of unethical conduct of the nature that he accuses me of. If he has any facts to support them, he should take them to the correct forum and he will receive an appropriate response,? Mr Lithur stated in an interview with the Graphiconline in Accra on Wednesday.
?The doors of the General Legal Council are wide open to him should he wish to take opportunity of that forum. Damaging a fellow practitioner?s reputation so publicly based on conjecture is much more unethical and quite irresponsible,? Mr Lithur opined in reaction to Mr Amidu?s allegations of complicity against his firm in connection with the GHc51.2 million Woyome saga.
Mr Amidu issued a statement to Graphiconline on Tuesday, March 17, 2015, in reaction to Mr Lithur?s earlier interview to the Graphiconline where the latter had explained how his firm had had contact with Austro-Invest.
According to Mr Amidu, the Attorney-General deliberately left out the names of Austro-Invest and Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu, in her entry of judgement which sought to seek enforcement of the Supreme Court?s July 29, 2014 order to Woyome to refund the money.
He had argued that because her firm had had dealings with Austro-Invest in the past, there was the likelihood of her showing open bias towards Woyome and treating Austro-Invest leniently.
?The point should be made very clear that Lithur Brew & Company did not act for Austro-Invest in relation to the actual claim or steps taken to claim any compensation from Government. We were not aware Austro-Invest had given Woyome power of attorney to claim monies from government and were not part and did not advice Austro-Invest or Woyome on any of the processes leading to the payment of monies to Woyome,? Mr Lithur told the Graphiconline in the interview in Accra Wednesday.
?We were instructed by Austro-Invest only after monies had been paid to Woyome and he refused to pay Austro-Invest any part of it, on grounds that Austro-Invest did not play any particular role in the financial engineering based on which the claim and payment had been made.
The power of attorney given to Mr Woyome by Austro-Invest to pursue the claim with the Attorney General, the various steps that were taken by Woyome pursuant to that power, the meetings with government etc were all done without knowledge or advise from Lithur Brew,? counsel stated in response to Mr Amidu?s.
Mr Lithur said ?therefore, Lithur Brew & Company did not advise Woyome either directly or through Austro-Invest in relation to the claim from Government.
The attempt to link Lithur Brew & Company to the claim for compensation is therefore groundless.?
Explaining further, counsel said ?while payment by government of the sum of GHc51 million may have been made ostensibly in the joint names of Austro-Invest and Woyome, Austro-Invest did not receive any part of the money. In fact, it was because Woyome had refused to make any payment to Austro-Invest that they instructed Lithur Brew to take him to court.
According to him, he was the one who had arranged the financial engineering and that Austro-Invest did almost nothing. They were, therefore, not entitled to any portion of the monies paid by government.?
Mr Lithur said he found out soon after filing the claim that the payment was illegal, he advised Austro-Invest to discontinue the suit, which it did. He said ?note that Woyome, even during trial, maintained that he, and not Austro-Invest, was entitled to the compensation.?
Reacting to Mr Amidu?s claim that his firm knew Austro-Invest was not in existence at the time it sued Woyome, he said ?that is completely untrue and unfair. There is no basis for coming to that conclusion.?
?Even assuming the accusation was that Lithur Brew & Co. ought to have ascertained first, whether or not Austro-Invest was still in existence at the time that it took instructions to sue him for a portion of the compensation, the simple answer would be: if Mr Amidu had an active and busy private practice, he would have realized that that imposition, while ideal, is neither practical nor can it form the basis upon which such general and sweeping ethical judgment could be made,? Mr Lithur asserted.
He said years before Austro Invest and Woyome put in the claim for compensation, Mr. Ray Smith, the principal of Austro-Invest had, upon Woyome?s request, lent him an amount of about US$ 1 million, which Woyome claimed he required to launch his foundation.
According to him Woyome made several failed promises to pay the money and as a result of that ?Lithur Brew was instructed to claim the money from him. When, after several correspondences and meetings, he still hadn?t paid, upon Ray Smith?s instructions, Lithur Brew sued Woyome. He made payment of the debt by issuing cheques directly in the name of my clients.?
?There were two cheques issued by Woyome. The second cheque represented another debt owed by Woyome to m-Powapak, a company owned by Ray Smith.
The debt arose from monies unlawfully taken from the accounts of m-Powapak by Woyome at the time he was an alternate director of the company,? counsel continued.
?While Mr. Smith had traveled for medical treatment, Woyome had, without his consent, instructed monies to be paid to him from the company?s funds over a certain period. Woyome admitted wrongdoing and agreed to pay. He never did. When he was sued for the US$ 1 million, he settled both claims with the two cheques to my clients. Neither of these payments had anything to do with the claim for compensation for financial engineering for which Woyome was paid GHc 51.2 million,? Mr Lithur emphasised.
Exonerating his former partner, Mr Lithur said he personally handled both claims adding ?the Attorney-General neither handled any aspect of it in-house, nor did she appear in court in respect of any of these cases. In fact Mr Lithur personally handled all cases against Woyome that came to the firm without involvement by the AG.?