The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights has unanimously dismissed a case filed by beleaguered businessman, Alfred Agbesi Woyome, against the state.
The court said Woyome’s right to non-discrimination, right to equalilty before the law, equal protection before the law and his right to be heard by an impartial tribunal had all not been violated.
The Court, presided over by Honourable Lady Justice Tujlani Rose Chizumil, on Friday, 28 June 2019 ruled that: “The court finds that the applicant’s rights to nondiscrimination, his right to equality before the law and to equal protection of law as guaranteed under Articles 2 and 3 of the Charter were not violated by the respondent. The court notes that since no violation has been established, the issue of reparation does not arise. Consequently, the applicant’s prayers for reparation is dismissed.”
Mr Woyome dragged the Republic of Ghana to the African Court after a ruling by Ghana’s Supreme Court that he should refund some money to the state since he got it through fraudulent means.
The businessman stated that his human rights were being trampled by the Republic of Ghana in relation to a case in which he sued the country for abrogating a financial engineering service contract and was paid GHS51.2 million as judgment debt.
The African Court’s ruling was live-streamed.
The Arusha-based court on 24 November 2017 gave an order that all steps by the Republic of Ghana to retrieve the GHS51 million from Mr Woyome be halted until a final determination of the case by Ghana’s Supreme Court.
This is the second legal blow dealt Mr Woyome in 24 hours. On Thursday, Ghana’s Supreme Court ordered the sale of some properties discovered by the state to belong to the embattled businessman to defray part of a GHS51.2 million judgement debt paid him about a decade ago, which the country’s apex court has ruled he must refund, since, according to the court, he got it illegally and fraudulently.
In Thursday’s ruling, the court said a claim by the now-defunct UT Bank that Mr Woyome used two of his houses at Trassaco as well as a quarry as collateral for a loan could not be proven.
They all have a total worth of GHS20 million, according to Deputy Attorney General Yeboah Dame, who addressed the media after the ruling.
Mr Dame said the state will initiate processes to auction the properties.
Also, the sole Judge, Justice Alfred Anthony Bening, awarded a cost of GHS60,000 each against Mr Woyome’s Anator Holdings and Quarry Limited; and UT Bank.
Mr Woyome has already refunded a little over GHS4 million of the GHS51.2 million.
Reacting to the judgment in an interview with Accra-based Kasapa FM, Mr Woyome said: “I reject the claim by the single Judge that I’ve colluded with UT Bank and that it is not true that I took a loan from the defunct bank. I presented in court documents concerning the loan facility and UT did same, so, this particular judgment, I find it very difficult to understand. I’ll move the case to a three-panel Supreme Court … to rule on it. UT Bank can also send the case there and show the court that, indeed, I owe them.”
“This case has just started, so, one should not begin jubilating that my properties will be sold. I’ll fight this case until its logical conclusion. I could look for a loan to pay the remainder of the judgment debt awarded me back to the state but as a law-abiding citizen, I’ve been waiting to hear the ruling of the African Human Rights Court on my case before acting.
“The ruling will be done tomorrow [Friday, 28 June]. If the African Court says I should pay the state, I’ll sit down with the state and see the way forward, if the court rules in my favour, we’ll make sure that the ruling is applied in Ghana,” Mr Woyome said.