Alfred Agbesi Woyome
ALFRED AGBESI Woyome, the man at the centre of the GH¢58 million judgment debt scandal, has been thrown out by a Fast Track High Court in Accra in a civil suit he had filed against Triumphant Global Ministries and the head pastor of the church.
In a case akin to the one in which he ‘fraudulently’ obtained a colossal amount from government, Mr. Woyome (plaintiff) had sued the church (1st defendant) and its head pastor (2nd defendant) for refund of various sums of money; ¢620,720,000.00 (GH¢62,000) and US$5,000 he allegedly advanced to them as loans.
However, Mr. Woyome, who was said to be a deacon of the church at the time of the alleged transaction, could not produce any documentary evidence that he had given the defendants any loan, neither were his key witnesses credible enough to bail him out, leaving the court with no option than to throw out the case.
While he said there were no written documents witnessing the alleged loans since it was not the practice of the church to prepare documents covering loans, his witnesses, who were all described as rebels of the church, contended that there were records covering all the monies received from him as loans since they were the ones who contracted the loans for and on behalf of the church.
They could, however, not provide a single record to support their claims.
Giving his ruling, Justice Yaw Appau concluded that the plaintiff could not succeed on his claim, “which this court finds frivolous, unmeritorious, unwarranted and at best, an afterthought as the defendants contended in their statement of defence.”
The case was accordingly dismissed with costs.
In his statement of claim, the NDC bankroller said the total of monies he granted to the defendants as loans came to ¢620,720,000.00 and $5,000.
Accordingly, he prayed the court to grant him judgment since the defendants had ignored all demands made by him for the repayment of the loans.
But the 2nd defendant who represented the 1st defendant in their statement of defence filed on July 27, 2004, categorically denied Mr. Woyome’s claim.
They denied that Mr. Woyome ever granted loans to the defendants to the tune of ¢620,750,000.00 and US$5,000 or to any tune and demanded strict proof of this allegation by the plaintiff.
According to them, when the plaintiff became a member of the church, he, like all other members, contributed financially to the programmes and activities of the church by way of gifts, donations, offertory and tithing.
They described Mr. Woyome as someone who was always ready to top up monies collected by way of appeal for funds for specific projects as a way of expressing his appreciation for God’s bountiful blessing upon his life.
However, at a point in time, Mr. Woyome and his ilk attempted to remove the head pastor of the church and when that failed, he resorted to the court action.
Justice Appau said the main issues up for determination were whether or not Mr. Woyome ever granted loans to the defendants to enable them to carry out programmes of the church, whether or not those monies given to the church by Woyome were in appreciation of God’s bountiful blessings upon his life and whether or not he was entitled to his claim or any of the reliefs asked for.
According to the judge, Mr. Woyome testified and called three witnesses. Two of the witnesses, Pastor Asomaning and Pastor Newman, were former pastors of the church who had left just like Mr. Woyome and established their own churches or joined others.
According to the judge, “It is a notorious principle of law that he who asserts must proof.”
In the instant suit, he said, since it was Mr. Woyome who said he granted various loans to the defendants, totaling ¢620,750,000.00 and then $5,000, an allegation the defendants denied, it behoved him to lead such evidence that would tilt in his favour the existence of the facts asserted in his claim.
The judge concluded that Mr. Woyome could not lead any such evidence to establish his claim.
He said on the contrary, Mr. Woyome and his witnesses who described themselves as pastors or men of God, proved to be disgruntled former members of the church who, after failing in their bid to get rid of the head pastor as the leader of the church, took this action against the defendants among several others.
The judge pointed out that while Mr. Woyome could not lead any evidence, either oral or documentary, to support his claim that he granted loans to the tune of ¢620,750,000.00 and US$5,000, to either the 1st defendant or the 2nd defendant or both, the particulars of the alleged loans in his statement of claim did not tally with the total figure of ¢620,750,000.00, which he gave as the cedi component of the loan.
The total of the alleged loans, which plaintiff said he gave to the defendants in cedis, from his own pleading, is ¢524,720,000.00 and not ¢620,750,000.00, which he gave as the total.
“The plaintiff who brought the defendants to court to demand the repayment of a loan facility of ¢620,750,000.00 and another $5,000 could not lead any evidence to establish how the said loans were contracted, where contracted, when contracted and the terms of payment,” the trial judge concluded.
By Awudu Mahama